When you are invited to a friends’ house in China, you will be well taken care of.
When you say your good-byes and head home, be prepared for your host to walk you to your bike or your bus stop. Sometimes your host will even follow you home. It’s called “song” and it feels strange to our independent western selves.
We Americans toss out a casual wave from the couch, “Thanks for coming!” That is our good-bye.
There is much to be learned from other cultures and maybe the Chinese are on to something.
Maybe it is time for this old-fashioned word to make a grand comeback:
A friend of mine thinks of it this way:
Because we live out the fascinating realities of God in our own families, when we invite people into our homes, they feel the draw of the very kingdom of God.
Now that is hospitality.
Receiving guests is not just an adult thing. It is a family thing.
Our kids can co-host and practice hosting on their own.
We want our houses and yards to be inviting and we want our guests to feel accepted.
Can we get practical for a minute?
In the past week, between all of my kids, there have been three sleepovers and a dozen visitors. So we sat down and talked about their experiences and what makes for a great visit. It was quite insightful.
Q: What makes you comfortable being at a friends’ house?
When the whole family welcomes me.
They ask me questions and talk to me instead of staring at me.
They ask me what I want for dinner and what I want to drink.
They include me in what they are doing.
They let me help them with their chores. (Me: “Oh really?” Her: “Yes. It feels so awkward to just stand there.”)
They introduce me to everyone.
When they pay more attention to me than their electronics.
When they sleep on the floor with me instead of me sleeping by myself.
Q: What do we need to brush up on in our home?
The whole family being kind and welcoming our friends.
Not acting shy when friends first get here.
Explaining the rules of the house so kids know what’s going on.
We are past putting on a show for our neighbors and slumber party guests. We know we don’t need a themed dinner or a bleached kitchen.
We know that living in community with people means sending that text, extending that invitation, opening that front door.
We Jesus People have the greatest reason to be hospitable.
We get to fling open the door to what God is up to in our own homes.
We share the goodness of the kingdom around our tables and around our campfires.
So do our kids.
And maybe we will even find ourselves walking our guests all the way to their cars.
How about you? Do you enjoying hosting? Do you see it as a lost art?