By Karen Beauvais
Every Sunday and on holidays I pull my mother’s delicate blue China out of my cabinet. It has traveled to charity teas and even to school with my children for Valentine’s day.
I have a mission, I am using this China like my mother did as a way to say, “You are special, you are welcome, you are loved.” I feel like it’s the best way to let her legacy live on. I am not in the camp that the family China stays stowed; it should be used and well worn like the Velveteen Rabbit.
My mother’s table was host to many: dear family friends, relatives and guests sometimes from afar, like the Polish priest who spoke no English or the Chinese engineer from my father’s job or the very lively Vietnamese family I taught English as a second language.
When I was in college my friend Marco pedaled 4 hours on a bike to come visit, and while we didn’t fully know Marco or his family my mother made him a bed and put out the China.
Deep in my heart, I believe God’s table is much like my mother’s. Always ready for the diverse and different. It was welcoming and full of love. Believe it or not, this template for love and acceptance helped me bridge the gap and get to know those who were not necessarily homogeneous to with me in my adult life. Making my life a rich tapestry of people, just like my mother’s table. This is the legacy I want to pass on to my children.
On days when the neighbor’s children pound on my door bell setting off the barking dog as I rush to finish my remote work to deadline, I remember my mother’s home. Always welcoming and full of love just like the heart of God. There are days I feel challenged:
Is my house clean enough?
Do we measure up? There is a rip in the couch!
Where can I hide my mountainous laundry?
Oh gosh, did the boys remember to flush?
These thoughts plague me sometimes when guests come, big or small. There are days I reluctantly throw on a baseball cap and pour an extra glass of tea as I try to make my home a welcoming place.
The real question is: “Am I truly given to hospitality?”
Am I raising children to welcome the weary, bless them like the good Samaritan, bind them up and leave them better than we found them? Won’t that make the world a better place and their lives richer?
But really... it all starts with me.
Do I have a welcoming heart?
Does my table have room for another?
Do I understand God’s plan to reconcile starts with me?
Job 31:32 says, "The alien has not lodged outside, For I have opened my doors to the traveler.”
What an amazing God we have that embraces the outsider.
There is a notion that if we reach outside our comfort zone that our ideals could become compromised. At my mother’s table, I embraced a mosaic of different types of people thanks to her welcoming spirit that helped me grow to love others.
Oh to have that same welcoming spirit like the widows in the new testament mentioned in Timothy. They were not the self conscious kind, they made their reputation by opening their hearts and homes. “Well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord's people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.” 1 Timothy 5:10 NIV
As we go about our day, let us all remember to open our doors and have a welcoming spirit to those that are in need.
Let us teach our children the importance of reaching out to others even if they look a little different. In this we become more like Christ and honor the beauty of his vast and diverse creation.
Word of the Day:
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrew 13:2 NIV
Father, give me a heart for those who find themselves on my doorstep. Help me to be an ambassador of your love and hope. Help me to live a life that welcomes the lost tired and weary. Let my home be a place of warmth and love that spans generations. Help me to raise my children to welcome the alien as we make room at your table. So that in this way, the world will know your love.