I originally wrote this in 2011, and it's more true today than ever.
One HUGE difference from my pre-kids days to my current reality is that entertaining and hosting people can seem like more of a burden than ever before. I used to thrive with company over. I loved tidying up my home, planning a menu, and having a full house of family, friends, you name it. When Lily was born it drastically changed. I had less energy. The house was always a mess. Cooking and baking became more rare. People coming over wasn't as "fun" anymore.
Lately Brad has been challenging this view. He's obviously sympathetic to my lack of energy, especially with my current pregnancy on top of a 9 month old, but he's also the greatest influence in my life other than God, so when he speaks, I need to consider what he's saying. And I have been (not that I'm always so ready to be corrected, mind you!). He's been encouraging me to show hospitality more, though it's harder than ever. Why? Because it's one of the greatest ways to love people.
Something I've realized through trying to understand to what degree I should be serving others alongside my family in this season is that hospitality is not hosting/entertaining. In my head, the two were inseparable. But they are quite different, and when you get that, you realize that showing hospitality doesn't have to be a burden when you're in a season of difficulty - especially with small children. Entertaining has a heavy emphasis on showing someone a great time, amusing them. There's a lot of pressure there. An entertaining evening usually means a nice meal, planned activities, a pleasant atmosphere (read: clean house!), everyone on their best behavior, etc. Now check out the definitions of hospitality.
1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.
2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
I take this to mean that showing hospitality is opening your door and heart to people. Even when the house is messy. Even when you're just ordering pizza. Even when you don't have the perfect evening planned. It's showing generosity and love, usually in your home. That sounds like something I can do, if I so choose. But what it also required is that I choose love and generosity above appearance and "perfection". Would I be as proud to open up my home if I'm not offering a three-course-meal made from scratch? I should be, but in my pride, I'm not.
Something I'm working on, with Brad's inspiration, and also the inspiration of this article recently posted online.