I’ve been thinking lately about how meaningful it is when someone prepares a place for someone else.
I remember when we went to Disney World 4 years ago and I basked in their significant effort to relieve a stranger like me of my luggage, hunger, impatience, and adult-sized worries. They did all they could to allow Ryan and me to stroll hand-in-hand down romantically lit streets, to laugh together as 3-D bugs flew at our faces, and to shed a few tears together as Nemo gained admiration for his dad. They were abundantly generous with their colors, scents, tastes, smiles, and creativity. We felt very refreshed. We felt at home.
Of course, we payed them big bucks for that warm hospitality.
So, let me offer more authentic examples…
I remember my high school friend, Ardene, who prepared for sleepover parties by placing a glass of water, a new bottle of scented lotion, and a little journal by her friend’s pillow.
I remember my cousin, Beth, who placed my picture in the guest room frame when we visited her southern home.
I remember God Himself, who prepared this world so intricately well to please me, to make me think better, and to make me worship Him: the mountains, the vallies, the sunsets, the children, the soil, the sleeping, the waking, the water. All of it is prepared for us, so that we do not stop longing for the Groom who is still preparing a place – a better place – for us.
We find great pleasure in preparing a place for someone else: we paint the nursery for our long-awaited baby, we vacuum carpets and scour bathrooms for our mother’s weekend visit, we quickly straighten the house and make an inviting dinner for our husband’s return from work.
Hospitality asks us to prepare a place for another person. When we do so, we imitate Christ.
When I prepare a table, an outfit, or a celebration for another person, may I also prepare my own heart to love that person better. When the children and I prepare for Ryanâ€™s return from work by straightening the house and making dinner, may we prepare our inner selves to love him well with smiles and hugs and grateful hearts. When, on Saturday night, I prepare our Sunday afternoon meal, may I prepare my heart to welcome my family and our guests, may I prepare my heart to lie down in the green pastures that, all along, have been prepared for me.