"Never be lacking zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord … Practice hospitality."
-- Romans 12:11,13 (NIV)
As the holidays close in on us, it's time to brush up on our skills to be hospitable hosts and hostesses.
With all the excitement about mealtime menus and our decking the halls, we often get so tangled up in the time-consuming preparations of the holidays, that we forget the heart of the matter -- which is love and hospitality.
I know from experience that when we are planning and preparing meals, our focus can get caught up in presenting a perfect turkey with a golden brown skin and mouth watering dishes to tantalize our taste buds.
Sometimes we can forget about the heart focus that surrounds the serving of the meal. To have one without the other destroys the purpose of the holiday gathering.
We look at the things of God as spiritual, but much of the spiritual side of life is to put into practice God's practical principles that bring a wholesome and fuller life. The ability to be hospitable is alive inside each believer and instructed by God that we put our gifts into practice.
Some may have a more natural born knack for it than others due to the way they were raised or loving traits in their personality; but if each of us give it our best effort, we can learn to become hospitable hosts and hostesses.
Hospitality is being able to invite others into our homes with the heart attitude to serve them as guests, to make them feel comfortable so they feel at home. It's about making people feel cared for.
It's displaying welcoming spirit, not one that seeks self-approving accolades about the fact that we have to do all the work. We do the work to bless rather than impress our guests.
Sitting down to a meal with guests gives us the opportunity to give to others. Our conversation can focus on the interests and concerns of others, as we do we come across as someone who opens their hearts, not only their homes, to their guests.
This holiday season, let's ask God to help us minister kindness and friendship at our meals.
Let's make our guests welcome in our homes and not wish they had stayed home. At the end of the day we'll have experienced the joy of a heart of hospitality.
• Annettee Budzban is a Christina author, speaker, life coach and nurse. Invite her to speak at your event. She can be contacted at Annetteebudzban@aol.com