The Bible teaches us to be hospitable one to another. I have spent my day preparing to do just that. There is a man in our community that owns a weight training facility. Our son is best friends with his son. This man has poured so much teaching and training into our boys. We wanted to do something to let him know how much we appreciate all that he has done for our children. We invited him and his entire family to our home to enjoy an Italian dinner. Our day has been filled with the aroma of peppers and onions simmering in fresh tomato sauce. Lemon Bars baking in the oven and even a batch of peanut butter bars cooling on the counter.
Some days it is easier to be hospitable than other days. Some days my heart is more into it. However no matter the state of my heart I find that once the people come to our home I really enjoy hosting. There are a few practical tips that make hosting a crowd of people flow better. I always want my house clean when we have company, but I realized long ago that it didn't have to be perfect. I spent so much time cleaning for the company that I was just too tired to enjoy the evening. I was always frustrated that the freshly mopped floor was soiled with the shoes of the extra people. Now I clean, but I don't get down on my hands and knees and scrub the floor. Instead I grab a mop and give the floor a nice quick once over. I also include my children in the cleaning process. After all, they usually enjoy the company too.
Although food and environment is important when hosting a crowd, there are more things to be concerned with than just that. I want my home to be a fun place that people feel comfortable being in. I want the company to relax and enjoy every aspect of the evening. This requires me to be available to visit instead of always being worried about the dishes. I am more than willing to let other people help me clean up after the meal. We can all still fellowship while doing the dishes, and it makes the next day go much smoother for me. I do not ask for help, but if the company offers I usually accept it.
Hosting a crowd is a lot of work, and if you plan in advance it helps things to flow much better. For example, I really wanted to cook a southern country dinner for tonight. With 15 people in my home, I knew it would be impossible to fry chicken for that number. I chose an Italian dinner because it could be made ahead of time. I will have a few last minute things to attend to, but it won't be frying up chicken legs!!
I have also learned to get what I can done and not worry about the rest. It simply doesn't matter. After all, most people didn't come to my home to see if I actually cleaned the laundry room. (Which by the way, I didn't)! Most people come to fellowship and have a great time. If they come to see what a fantastic housekeeper I am, well I am afraid they will be very disappointed. However, if they come to be a part of a home filled with food, fun, and fellowship then I think they will leave with a happy heart.
grace and peace,