So what is hospitality? To me it's not so much about what you do or make, but more how you are open to receiving people. Is your home/flat/business etc open to a visitor or do you have to give them a special invitation first? If someone knocked on your door now (breaking your reading of this blog maybe!), would they be welcome? Can people just drop in on you (OK, people you know...but many do also entertain strangers, and in doing so maybe have hosted an angel...well that's what the Bible hints at anyway!)
You see, while hospitality does include inviting someone over to your home (usually) for some type of meal, it is much more than that - it's more to do with your attitudes and character than your ability to cook a great roast dinner.
Here are a few things we can all do, whoever you have over, to help make yourselves more hospitable;
1 - Greet your guests at the door. Both adults if possible, even if one is busy with the cooking/children etc, it's at least great to acknowledge your guests (ie, they are there anyway because you asked them to come!) arrival.
2 - Take coats/bags and tell them what to do with shoes etc. Every house has it's own 'rules' so make them feel at home straight away....maybe you'll let them do what they do at home, but don't leave them standing, wondering if they should put there coat down somewhere. If you'd like them to take shoes off, just easily say "You may leave your shoes here!" (Simple!?)
3 - Let them know where the toilet is (they might want to wash their hands) - but it makes people feel greeted and warm to your home. NB - Always make sure before your visitors arrive that you have enough toilet roll available, and a spare roll showing, if it's not obvious. Every house has their own places for these and you want your guests visit to be a happy, calm and relaxing time - not one when there is no paper in the toilet and they can't find the spare rolls you happen to keep in the shed at the bottom of the garden!
4 - Offer them a drink. This will come straight away after they've come in, or returned from washing their hands. Cold, hot, make some suggestions, don't just say "do you want a drink", say "We have hot, cold, juice. What can I get you?"
5 - Show them where they can sit down (this means, clear away at least enough seats for those that are coming in....no one likes to sit down on a messy sofa). Even if it's an unexpected drop in, clear while talking and make them feel they are not intruding (you need to mean it...lol...!)
6 - Listen to them, ask them questions. Don't just carry on with what you were doing (especially if they have dropped in - it would just say to them "Yes you are here, but I wish you weren't). If you do have stuff to do, at least given them a minute or 5 and make sure they have a drink etc.
Doing these things you are well on the way to being a very hospitable person! Of course, for friends and especially family, numbers 2 and 3 will be known, but really the rest should be followed, and besides, it's always good practice.
So, I hope these simple things have shown how you, whether you live in a castle or one room, can be hospitable to all that come your way. And a hospitable home is a happy ( and blessed!) home.