"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some have entertained angels without knowing it."
visitor to her home was treated like royalty. Granny refused to let
first-time guests serve themselves in any way: their slightest wish was her
command. However, if you were invited back, you became family. Granny readily opened her heart and her home to students, church members, neighbors and distant relatives.
Her natural affinity for hospitality was probably developed during her early
adulthood, when she welcomed musicians from Pennsylvania Avenue’s jazz clubs
into her home. Those for whom hotels were prohibited found refuge in her neat
row house. Although Granny showed me how a hostess should give, it is from
my young niece that I once learned that a hostess receives.
My niece used to attend a Christian elementary school located across the street from our church. I remember an unplanned visit after having attended the funeral of a breast cancer victim, borne out of my personal need to receive some small taste of life. With the eulogy fresh in my brain and the tears still choking my throat, I walked to my niece’s school–just to take a peek at her. Upon seeing me in the doorway, my niece jumped from her desk and ran to embrace me as only an uninhibited child can. "Auntie!" she cried, squeezing me with a grip that would have done a Sumo wrestler proud. Children can strip one of preferences and self-centeredness, can't they? We must make ourselves available to love them, in spite of what we may or may not receive. Therein comes the sacrifice. However, we also receive a gift.
What I received that warm October day long ago reminded me of all that is precious and sacred. As I accept my need to be embraced and accepted, God does not disappoint. I return the embrace, comforted beyond measure by the reminder in that angels really exist in this death-ridden and sorrowful world.
I have been enfolded by the One who holds the world in His hands. I have received more than I have given. The wonder of hospitality is not that we are able to give, but that God gives to us. His desire is to embrace us in unexpected places. As
we entertain, we find friends, we find family, and we see the shining face of