How to host

We got to her house late, knowing she would be gone anyway. She left us a message of where to find the key, though she had never met our family before.

We unlocked the door in the dark and silence, stepping into her lovely home for the first time. We made our bumbling way to the basement, where we found a comfortable apartment with lights, clean beds, and a welcome note.

A four-poster bed for us, loads of pillows and soft blankets. Little beds on floor mattresses for the children. (How did she even know how many we had?) Toys and toys. A basket of coloring books and crayons. Bedtime stories on the nightstand. A heater and fresh towels in the bathroom.

“Help yourself to anything you find to eat,” said the note. “The sofa makes into a bed, but who would want to sleep beneath a bunch of deer heads?” That made us laugh.

In the kitchenette, we read a tale of frequent guests in these quarters… everything scrupulously clean and ready for company. Disposable plates and cups. A coffee pot and toaster. A tray of tableware, covered with a cloth. A basket of tea.

We didn’t expect her to serve us breakfast, but she had provided new boxes of cereal, a loaf of bread with jam and butter, instant oatmeal, fresh mixed fruit, orange juice, milk, and yogurt. Plus chocolate for snacks!

In the wee hours of the morning, while we drank deeply of comfort and sleep, she and her husband returned from their trip, then left again before we did. We met up with them at church later in the day. Did you find everything okay? Did you need anything? I apologize for not having a breakfast casserole ready for you to pop into the oven…

At the risk of sounding maudlin, I must admit that the thing I really wanted to do was cry. I was not particularly strong last weekend. Kindness goes deep during times of grief.

We are no angels, but Margaret is the kind of woman who has undoubtedly hosted a few in her day. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Heb. 13:2).

You may not have a ready-made apartment in the basement to offer to company. That’s okay. How do you communicate to your guests that for the present, they are home?

How have others communicated it to you?

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Isn’t it wonderful the family that we have in Christ? Once when I was a child, we were traveling and as night fell my parents realized that we were miles away from lodging. They opened a Church directory that they had and located a family nearby, that family opened their doors to us, not knowing who we were other than family in Christ, I was maybe 8 at the time, but I still remember that.

10 years ago

I talked to Margaret just after you did, Shari. She’s a breast cancer survivor. So warm!

10 years ago

I loved hearing of your experience, Shari. You asked how others have communicated hospitality to us. I once spent several days at a good friend’s home. She knew I liked rough, line-dried towels instead of soft, fluffy ones. In preparation for my arrival, she purposely rewashed a clean towel and line-dried it. As simple as that sounds, it touched me in a unique way. (And if I ever happen to overnite at your place and you have soft, fluffy towels, I will be just fine with that!! 🙂

Janelle Glick
10 years ago

A close friend of mine often prepares a tray of tea bags, hot water, and chocolate for the room. There’s usually some wonderful smelling lotion in the bathroom too. These special touches make our whole family excited to be “home”.

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