This is a scared and special time of year. During the HOLYdays, our houses are being prepared for family and friends as we fill them with love and laughter to celebrate and enjoy time together.
But during this time, let us not forget those who live among us that have no place to go. These people can be neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances, and even relatives with whom we have been out of touch.
Having traveled for most of our married life, Matthew and I know what it is to be in a new city without any friends or family. In fact, most of us can relate to this experience in one way or another in our own lives. Having no where to go turns the holidays into a series of awkward pauses and uncomfortable smiles as we hope to be invited to a gathering but don't want to ask or impose.
Over the last 10 years I have come to look at community from a different vantage point. We went from being planted in the place where we grew up with lots of friends and family to being in another country where we had to grow a community from scratch. Community is more than any one of us; by very definition it is the joining together of lives for the purpose of enriching and embracing another. I've learned that the only way to grow community is through hospitality.
Hospitality is our willingness to say yes to our neighbor. Saying yes is not always convenient. Even as I am writing this post, my three wonderful and demanding children need to be fed and clothed. I need to brush my teeth and cook a dish for Thanksgiving, and ohh yeah, I woke up inspired to complete a bunch of tasks for All of Us Matter... then I got the text message.
"Do you mind if we stop by and visit?"
A relative who I had not seen in a long time was in town and wanted to drop by for a visit. I had a choice, I could say no--which would have been convenient--or I could say yes and have an opportunity to open my home and share real and authentic life with one another.
Matthew and I have learned that by saying yes we are enriching our lives and the lives of those around us. We have made it a family rule that we always try to say yes in these situations. Saying yes is not only how our tribe of community grows, enriching our lives with new friendships and experiences, but it is also our responsibility as Christians.