I have a confession. I think I’ve been kind of a jerk. And, well…in my heart I’ve been a total jerk several times lately.
The Lord pricked my heart on something this morning that I think is a great thing to consider particularly during the Holiday season…
Hospitality….to our families
You all know I love a good party. Whether it’s hosting one like I did for Lily Pottery the other night, having a small group of friends over for dinner, or throwing a huge bash…I love hospitality and entertaining. And for the most part, I think that I do both of them well. I’ve spent a lot of time studying hospitality over the past few months, and awhile back I read something that said that hospitality is about relationship, and entertaining is about well…entertaining.
The holidays always bring about lots of opportunities for both, and I have to say that in my efforts to be hospitable and entertain lately…there are a couple of people who have really gotten the short end of the stick as my efforts have been focused elsewhere. They’re among the people who really should be getting the first fruits of my efforts to serve others too….my kids.
Yep…I’ve been kind of a jerk a good bit lately to my kids. Man. That feels pretty sucky to say out loud.
And here’s why I am saying it out loud…to put it in front of my face, and to hopefully put it in front of yours too in an effort to encourage you away from making the same mistake.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been busting my tail to get my house cleaned and decorated for Christmas…you know, the holiday where we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world into a regular old family. Where we focus on God coming to earth….as a BABY. Yeah…that holiday….the one about great gifts to mankind, and about God as a child. That one. That’s the holiday I’ve been getting ready for… and being pretty much a total ass to my own children at least once a day in my efforts to “entertain” and prepare to serve others.
See…here’s the problem I’ve had. It’s called an agenda. A “to-do list.” And my kids have quite frankly interrupted my efficiency to get those things done. Sure I’ve included them along the way. We’ve made ornaments together, decorated a tree together, done some baking together….but including them takes time, and sometimes I just want to get things done and be done with those things too. To check things off of my list….and when that efficiency goes out the door, I begin to see my selfishness creep right in.
This morning I have spent some time really thinking about how “the holidays,” more than any other time of the year, present loads of opportunities to serve others. Whether you serve a special meal to the needy on Thanksgiving, or host a bunch of people at a festive party, get together with family more, spend time with friends more….whatever it is, our schedules get busy with giving and going, and at the end of the day for most of us and our families….that pace isn’t sustainable.
I don’t want “the busy” to become “the business” of my time or of my life. I want to remember to serve my own family before I even serve others….because that’s my mission… my job… my calling. If I busy myself with always serving others, but forget to serve my own family in the process, I’m just cultivating hearts in my children that resent hospitality and serving. And if I do that, then all I’m doing is making yet another contribution to an already selfish society…teaching them that our own agenda to “serve” is really more about entertaining than about relationship. And I don’t want to do that. I want my message to them to be to serve because we love….not to just entertain…to be about relationship, not presentations.
I just read something from a lady named Dorothy Patterson based on Isaiah 40:28-31 that said “Gods strength is for what He plans for you to do….not stamina for everything you might want to do.” Proverbs reminds us, lest we forget, that our children are a gift from the Lord (even in the moments where they make us feel crazy.) And I’m just gonna be honest and say that my “gifts” have frustrated me lately as they interrupt my agenda of what “I might want to do” sometimes. During this season, we all get so easily wrapped up in our own agendas, and someone, somewhere often pays the price. Who’s it gonna be?
So…here I am. December 1st….saying that the next 25 days counting down to celebrate the birth of a child will be much different than the past week of preparing to celebrate. I want to show hospitality to my family first…and out of that heart, overflow the fruits of hospitality onto others.