Tuesday, November 24, 2015

the importance of hospitality

Too much. Too much on the calendar, too much to do, too much to remember.

Too many. Too many plates spinning, too many people needing, too many crises in the world.

Not enough. Not enough time, not enough energy, not enough me.

If that doesn't sum up the predicament we are in these days, I don't know what does.

My "baby" has turned seven, and when she asked how we should celebrate, I suggested we sing Happy Birthday and then throw her in the freezing cold pool. She laughed because she is old enough now to understand my sarcastic ways, which means she really isn't a baby at all anymore. {Insert one bajillion crying emoticons}

I decked the halls in Christmas glory to distract myself from the absence of an actual baby. Then some friends came to dinner with their actual baby and she delighted us all with her gurgles of joy. Babies are magical unicorns and everybody wants one. Does Santa bring babies to full-grown women? I may write the North Pole a letter:

Dear Santa, 
Bring a baby STAT. 
I'll bake extra cookies for you if she can sleep through the night and is already weaned. 
Love, Carrie

I found some old journals and I made the gross mistake of reading them while I was pulling Christmas stuff out. Lawsy. Apparently every season is "same song, second verse" around here. We are more like the Israelites lost in the desert than we would like to think. Every day we seek freedom, comfort, and home around every corner in the universe.

We are leaning into our Christmas Happy around here. We have candy out, Christmas music playing, and lights strung around the door. There's nothing like some Feliz Navidad and Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree playing while I try to get my kids to do their chores to get me in the Holiday Spirit. But every once in a while, a melancholy version of "I'll be home for Christmas" comes on and my soul sings along to every word.

It's got me thinking about a home for us all, one with a roof wide enough to cover every weary head.

There are velvet seats for the broken-hearted in every corner, tables laden with bounty galore, pillows of hope fulfilled, jars of dreams come true, and books filled with the tales of how our shame  has been redeemed. Tears occasionally flow as we sit here together because we remember the way it used to be, before we found our way home. 


We are all refugees made resplendent in this house.

Our stories are all different, but together they create a song that feels like a Christmas miracle wrapped in golden childhood joy. We can't find our way here on our own. We are carried into this place, and no darkness can force us out.

The food on our plates tastes like true belonging, and our cups run over with gratitude and grace. The walls are made of love, the roof is righteousness, and the rafters above are as strong as justice. No storm can flood us, no famine can touch us. Here we are safe, we are family, and we are truly home.

Because this house is God's own home, He sustains those who take refuge in His walls. God holds our hands and endures our tantrums, then He binds up our fears and sends them far off into the wilderness. We will never know them the same way again.

Just thinking about that place makes all the not enough of today more endurable. It also clues us in to the importance of hospitality. Surely we can make our own doors a little easier to find, our kitchens a little more abundant, and our sofas a softer, safer place to be vulnerable with one another.


Surely we have been so well-loved that we can love one another in amazing and gracious ways. Surely we can make a place at our table for abundant gratitude and sing songs of joy together.

Christmas Happy isn't just for December. It's for June and May and January and every day of the year.

Baby or no baby, cozy at home or camping out in the wilderness, we really can be happy and hospitable today. Simply because we are His.

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