Radically Ordinary Christmas Hospitality
This Christmas Day, instead of having a Christmas buffet spread in church, we embarked on a new effort — to work out a system of hospitality that would see our non-Christians visitors, and any GBC member who was interested, to join some of our own families in their homes for a simple Christmas Day lunch. it was a great joy to see various GBC families play host to others, including visitors, and church members away from family. As we worked together to coordinate hospitality efforts to one another, we were able to host about 50 guests in about a dozen GBC family homes across the island, sharing home-cooked meals and time together as we commemorate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In her book “The Gospel Comes With a House Key”, Rosaria Butterfield writes about “radically ordinary hospitality”, “and urges Christians to rediscover the lost art of being hospitable, which is both inconvenient and intrusive. She writes, “Many people in our community protect themselves from inconvenience as though inconvenience is deadly. We have decided that we are not inconvenienced by inconvenience. The needs of children come up unexpectedly. We are sure that the Good Samaritan had other plans that fateful day. Our plans are not sacred.”
Some GBC members organised games and charades, or just had more in-depth conversations about the message that Pastor Eugene had preached that morning from Luke 2, “The Surprising Arrival of God’s King”, as we lived out evangelism at our dinner tables. Others whipped up a storm of food to show their love and affection for their guests.
A few months of planning came to a head as our hosts met up with their guests at church and then proceeded to take them home for meals.
Although Christmas is truly one of the busiest times of the year with visiting friends and family, returning relatives, and bustling with festivities and feasting, it was a wonderful thing to see GBC set aside time for one another, and open up our homes and lives to one another, share a meal, and fellowship.
We were especially glad for the opportunity to host about a dozen or so of our friends from Gladiolous Place, and have them in our homes chatting and eating together. We continue to be thankful for the opportunity to partner together with our friends at GP to serve the community.
Butterfield encourages us again to make hospitality a way of life in the church, especially to reach a "post-Christian world" where the old methods of mass crusade evangelism seem less effective: “Our post-Christian neighbors need to hear and see and taste and feel authentic Christianity, hospitality spreading from every Christian home that includes neighbours in prayer, food, friendship, childcare, dog walking, and all the daily matters upon which friendships are built.”
Many others, throughout the Christmas season, were practicing joyful, faithful, unnoticed hospitality to friends and family, showing them the love and kindness of a home, and prayerfully, opening up opportunities for the gospel to be shared down the road. Let us continue to pray that our homes be strategic outposts for the gospel to be shared.
This year at GBC, we praise God for the opportunity to serve others with radically ordinary Christmas hospitality.