–by Anna Christensen

Hospitality is a command, whether you live in a small home or not. Opening up our homes is a way to show “generosity and kindness” to a friend or a stranger. When we first moved into our little home, I never dreamed that I’d one day feed eleven guests (plus our five) for lunch, or think it was fun. As I’ve tried to practice hospitality in our little home, here are some things I’ve learned along the way. Things that work for me:

Don’t be afraid to invite guests over: This may seem silly, but when we first moved into our little home, I was afraid to have company over. Pride played into it, but I also thought, ‘who would want to leave their homes and come hang out at my little place?’ Maybe you have thought the same thing, but most people still want to come. Even large families! After all, they’re coming to see you, not your home! Some might even find the small home cosy and nostalgic.

Clear out the clutter: If you want to fill your home with people, there won’t be as much room for stuff. Clear out the clutter and make sure the things you have make your home a better place to be. Plus, the less you have, the less there is to make mess with! 

Get creative: If seating is an issue, turn buckets or boxes into makeshift stools and pull them up to the table for kids. Turn your living room into the dining area. Eat outside. Make it an indoor picnic. Some activities just don’t work in a small home, but many do: Seated group games don’t take much space. A long walk is fun if it starts to get cramped. Sometimes we turn our room into a personal theatre for the kiddos so the adults can talk quietly.

Keep the menu manageable: Remember Mary and Martha? Don’t focus so much on food that you don’t have time to enjoy your company.

Make a plan: Pick a few tried and true meals and desserts that you can rotate for company. Write out a menu. Try not to experiment on guests. [Don’t ask me how I know!]

Be prepared: [Try to] keep the home somewhat orderly. Keep easy to heat up food in the freezer for unexpected or last minute company. Some cookie dough freezes wonderfully. Freeze the dough in wax paper and when a friend drops by, slice and bake. Soon you’ll have hot homemade cookies to serve.

Expect imperfection: Hospitality is not about putting on a perfect front. Be real. Sometimes the meal won’t turn out exactly how you wanted. Sometimes the dishes will be stacked high in the sink or your toddler will “decorate” the living room right before guests arrive. It’s okay. 

Embrace the adventure: Warn your guests ahead of time that your home is small. My guests won’t get a guest room. They may not even get a chair. Enjoy squeezing a few more people into your home. Laugh. Make memories. It takes very little space to have a good time.

Prepare yourself: The last few minutes before guests arrive I’m usually flying around the house trying to get the last few things warmed up or put away. But, whenever I take time (even a minute or two) to pray, glance in the mirror, and prepare myself, I am much better prepared to show real hospitality to others.

Most importantly, love your guests: Show them how glad you are to have them in your home. To loosely paraphrase Solomon, a simple meal served with love is better than a fancy feast and hatred (Prov. 15:17) Remember why you invited them over in the first place: you love them and want to get to fellowship together.

ANNA CHRISTENSEN Freelance writer, and homeschool her children. follow her on her blog at feminineadventures.com

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