Welcomed and Accepted

I don't consider myself to be a strongly opinionated person. However, when I consider things that I might get worked up over they often have to do with how people are treated. I almost always cry at stories or TV shows that show a person fighting for an underdog, where a person who is an outcast finds acceptance. These things make me feel good about humanity and resonate with my inner core.

I have been told I am easy to be around because of my generally open and kind personality. I of course do not want to sound as though I am perfect and always nice or never have rude or unkind thoughts or actions against people. Obviously I do. I am simply saying that I have been told that I have a warm and welcoming personality. I imagine that is why I resonate with the stories of people being kind and why I get worked up when someone is treated unfairly.

We had a rule in our house for the kids when they were younger; everyone gets to play. We wanted and still want our children to know it is not OK to exclude people. My parents modeled this for me as well always hosting and opening their house to people from co-workers to college students to my fiancé. They molded this attitude of hospitality when they went to China for 5 years and found a home and friends in that place. They also experienced great hospitality, as did my family, during and after their time in China. Hospitality is certainly something that has been modeled for me throughout my life.

And yet this basic principal of hospitality or openness to people is one that many of us, including me, struggle with in our everyday lives. Any choice we make about how and when we say hello or make eye contact can be taken in many different ways. We can be ridiculed for our kindness and ridiculed for our lack of kindness. It can be a difficult situation to know how and when to be 'hospitable'.

As we considered this on Sunday we were reminded that Jesus has welcomed and accepted us. He has given us a place and a home in His family openly and without anything from us. In fact at Christmas we celebrate the fact that He has come into our homes, into our everyday, and into our mess right where we are and given us a place in His house.  

Jesus’ hospitality is not dependent on our ability to return the hospitality. His acceptance is not dependent on our ability to be perfect in all situations. His invitation to be part of His family is dependent not on us rather on His love for us because we are His beloved creation.

And so, we are now invited to be His Christmas invitation to the world. It is not dependent on the way they look, their background, or even the way they live; rather on Jesus Himself inviting. He has invited everyone. And He has given us the honor of sharing His invitation.

I may be naturally disposed to being welcoming and I still struggle with how to do this for the people that are most different from me. My personality may be kind and open and I still find myself being unsure of how to share Jesus with people who seem to be ‘foreign’. So, I will hold onto the fact that Jesus has accepted and welcomed me, He has taken the burden of always being kind and turned it into a joy. Jesus has said share Me, My story, and listen to how I am working in others and in that hospitality will be found.
Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

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