Today’s guest post focuses on hospitality, something that abounds during the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Mary Jane Smith expresses her appreciation and thanks for her friend Joanie’s gift of hospitality and sharing of her bounty.
So I offer a challenge for this week of Thanksgiving: as you thank God for your blessings, include thanks for the special talents and passions He has given to each of your friends and the many ways those talents enrich your life.
Then, make a point of thanking your friends and telling them how their gifts have brought you comfort, encouragement, and joy.
I Peter 4: 9 “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.”
The first time Joanie invited me to dinner with her family, I quickly found out that this was not a picnic-table-style affair. Joanie loves to entertain, and she loves to entertain with style. Her table was set with matching cloth tablecloth and napkins. The centerpiece was a stunning floral display that she had created (hues of the seasonal display outside). Everything, and I do mean everything, was coordinated for optimal visual enjoyment — candles, crystal, china, and cutlery. The visual display paled when compared to what she served us: breads, salads, entrees, multiple side dishes, and desserts. All sumptuous pallet pleasers.
Joanie and I are decorative painters, and our methods of implementing our art are vastly different. Over the ensuing years our friendship deepened. She has become the little sister I always wanted. About our art connection, she will laughingly say that she helped me to speed up and I helped her to slow down and enjoy the details.
Joanie is employed full-time as an Executive Assistant for a large corporation in our area of Florida. Even though she has a schedule jam-packed with obligations, she always finds time to share her baking, canning and cooking with family and friends (my personal favorites are her Strawberry Jam and her Pickled Beets). Many “goodie bags” have come home with me over the years that have nourished me well into another week. Even when we were not celebrating a special occasion, her food and decorations were spectacular. However, when she really wanted to celebrate – the visuals and the meals would be outrageously extravagant.
When I think back over the gatherings around her tables (yes, that is plural – one formal, one casual, and of course one on the patio), the words that come to my mind are abundance, hospitality, and love. Joanie genuinely enjoys showering family and friends with her awesome gifts of food (and her design talents). Every recollection of the wonderful times of fun, laughter and fellowship around her tables brings with it a sense of peace and benediction. I am just sure that the same feeling will be part of the celebrations we will have around the Lord’s Table when we finally get home to heaven.
Hospitality to me means abundance, and it means giving with love. If that is not a description of the life of my beloved friend, I do not know what it would be.
Provider of our daily bread and sustenance, thank You for allowing us the precious comfort of friends who portray for us the true meaning of hospitality by their gifts of time, talent and love. Thank you for these precious earthly reminders of what Heaven will be like, and what You have in store for us.
Mary Jane Smith lives in Florida and will be guest posting again at Christmas and New Year’s.