Advent 2019 #12: A cut above

So far this week, not everything has gone to plan.

On Tuesday, I was to join a group of people from my Church and hand out brochures for our upcoming Community Christmas Carols. However, due to awful heat and terrible haze as a result of bushfires, it was postponed until Wednesday afternoon.

Sadly, my flu-head kicked back in about an hour before we were due to start – and my voice still wasn’t any much better – so I thought it best I dip out. I promised I’d pray for them instead and I did.

Fortunately, I did managed to go door knocking two weekends ago, with the same purpose, so I do feel like I have invited people from the local community. Actually, very local, we door knocked my own street that day.

It fascinates me the different reactions you get from people when you turn up on their door step (and I’m sure I blogged about this a bit last year). I’m interested by how some people are very happy to have a long chat about spiritual things. Yet there’s others who exude arrogance and a sense of superiority.

That intrigues me. Why would you think you were superior to a Church attender?

Sure, you may disagree wholeheartedly with their beliefs. I get that and met that too. But a sense of superiority? (I can still hear the patronising tone in my head). You don’t have a leg to stand on with that one.

For a start, you’re at home, while the Churchies are out door knocking in the heat. And what are they doing? They’re inviting you to a community event. The Church is offering you a place to connect with others in your area, for a family friendly event. The Church goers are demonstrating hospitality to you.

If only they got some in return.

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

But that’s the way it’s always been for Christ and those following him. So, it doesn’t surprise me. The Messiah in a manger with the mess. No hospitality for him.

Hospitality is a wonderful attitude and practice to maintain, not just in our homes but in life generally. It’s important even more so at Christmas time when we reflect on the fact that Jesus came to earth to welcome us into his family: to do all that needed to be done to make us feel ‘comfortable’ and ‘accepted’.

Will we do the same?

Or will hospitality only be something we show to those we consider worthy of our time – as opposed to the ‘inferior’ Church people and their ‘baby God’.

There is a good reminder in the book of Hebrews towards the end of the New Testament.

“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

For Bethlehem it was the Messiah, and they let that opportunity come knocking… and then go begging.

I recall one time, when I door knocked in a caravan park, a Muslim family welcomed us in for a drink. That was some years ago but I still remember. Quite obviously, they didn’t agree with our beliefs, but hospitality isn’t based on sameness or opinions. It’s based on the desire to welcome others regardless of differences.

I knew the Muslim family completely disagreed with me on a number of things but I also knew that they didn’t want to dwell on the differences, they wanted to make me feel comfortable and accepted.

They wanted to be hospitable.

“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained future bloggers without knowing it.”

You might not remember what the Christians said last time they knocked on your door, but I trust you remember that they were offering you hospitality and a welcome into their space.

Hospitality is still on the table (and in the manger) and you don’t have to agree with people to engage in the practice. It’s saying to them “We’re different, but I’m no better or worse than you. Regardless of the differences, I accept you.”

That’s one way to get peace on earth in December: hospitable living.

Yours in engaging in the practice,

Alison

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

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