Giving Gifts and Hospitality
Giving gifts and spending quality time with loved ones is truly a blessing! For some of us, it’s literally the language by which we express our love.
So why, then, can it be so overwhelming? And how can we get back to the core value of giving?
Perhaps we can start by recognizing that there are cultural expectations put on us that are neither Kingdom-centered nor emotionally healthy. Can you identify some of these in your own life? Ask the Lord to bring His perspective and clarity.
1. Giving Well
Sometimes the best gifts don’t cost anything at all. Our simple encouragement to you is to take some time to pray for the special people that you want to give a gift to. From that place make a list of what you’d like to buy each one and proceed with your shopping. Whether it’s online or in a mall, where there are 50 different stores, or one store where you can get it all, you won’t buy a bunch of random stuff because you’ve thought it through first. (And that’ll be helpful to your Christmas budget!)
We’ve used this rhyme to help navigate our buying for our children:
Something they want (a toy)
Something they need (shoes)
Something to wear
And something to read…simple and meaningful!
2. When it Comes to Hospitality…Know Your Capacity!
1 Peter 4:8-9 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
One way to get an idea of this is to look back over previous parties or dinners you’ve hosted. Were they fun for you? Were they fun for your guest? (But you never sat down or drew breath the whole night.) Did you create connection for people? Was the work worth it?
All of us will have different answers to these questions. Our encouragement is to take it easy on yourself, especially if you have small children and there are things that are outside of your control. The Apostle Paul in Romans 12:13 says “Practice hospitality.” It really takes a lot of practice!
When looking at personality profiles and spiritual gifting tests, the people that are the most gifted in this area often don’t have perfect homes. They’re not gourmet cooks. They don’t have their hair and make-up done perfectly while they serve dinner in their heels.
The best hosts are the ones whose homes are well lived in, who prepare simple meals that are familiar and comfortable. If you think about it, we think you’ll find that the hosts you love the most are the ones who bring people into their homes to serve them, listen to them, and love them; they create belonging.
Let’s seek to emulate those dear people this holiday season. Let’s focus not on how perfect we can make everything look, but on how we can welcome others into our space with love and delight. Let's lean into peace and not pressure!