Are you going away for Christmas? How could you be the perfect house guest?
A couple of months ago an old friend asked if he could stay over in his way back down the country. Of course he could. No problem – providing he didn’t expect us to be sociable.
I was going to be out to playing netball while husband was doing the chores and finishing off some accounting work. Yes – do come – but we won’t put ourselves out for you.
The perfect house guest
After he left the next morning, I decided he’d been the perfect house guest. He hadn’t needed feeding, he had brought his own sleeping bag, pillow and towel, and had not interfered with our morning routine of getting up and out to school and work. The best thing was that he’d even fixed the curtains in the spare room that I’d been meaning to sort out for months.
However, I did think about it afterwards. I know he hadn’t wanted to put us out, but perhaps we had treated him a bit shabbily. After all, I’ve known him for over 20 years and we don’t see him that often. Did I really need to be playing netball, or could I have made more of an effort to spend time with him?
So, by him being the perfect house guest, it meant that we didn’t have to make much effort at all. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
No room at the inn?
It got me thinking about the Christmas story. When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, people didn’t put themselves for them. I know that the innkeepers were unaware that this lady was about to give birth to the Son of God, but she was heavily pregnant! Was it really only possible to offer her a stable to give birth in?
As an adult, Jesus was often offered hospitality and given food and a place to rest for the night. In this day and age, would we be so quick to do the same? Or would we be like the innkeepers who sent the heavy pregnant refugee away, saying that we could not help?
Don’t leave it too late
I imagine that we can all think of occasions where we didn’t give people enough of our time, or could have made them more welcome. I don’t think our house guest was at all offended by the lack of attention – he might even have been pleased not to have to make polite conversation. But it does make me think about how we can be of service to others.
Jesus taught us that we don’t know when He will come into our lives. If we wait until the last minute, it could be too late and we could have missed our opportunity. It is no good being busy with our own lives and concerned with our everyday activities – we need to make space for Him. We can do so by remembering that He teaches us to love Him and to love those around us. By doing as He has asked, we will find eternal happiness.
So, the next time I have a request for a guest to stay the night, even if they don’t want to put me out, I will think about how I can be more welcoming. After all, thinking that I can make time for them another day may prove to be too late.
How can you make time for others?
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