It’s the most wonderful time of the year! A time of giving thanks and simply giving! A time to gather together, make memories and extend love. It’s also the season for hosting. Whether it’s hosting the biggest “stuff- your- face” day of the year- also known as Thanksgiving- or a Christmas party for friends, we’re busy making purchases and plans. This year, I am honored to be hosting Christmas (my absolute, hands down favorite holiday). I’m so excited, I literally feel like a kid on Christmas morning!
As I began plans to research and write on this topic of hosting, titles like “How to Impress Your Guests” came to mind. However, God led me to instruct (and learn) a much more gracious concept.
Even though I have been assigned dessert duty for Thanksgiving (which I still can’t believe is just around the corner), I already have my wheels turning with concepts and ideas for Christmas. As I was sitting down the other day, searching Pinterest for the most jaw-dropping table scape and perusing Food Network for the perfect Christmas menu, a conviction stumbled upon my heart. In fact, I know it didn’t stumble there on accident- because it was a prompting of the Holy Spirit.
This may come as a shock, but I am a detail-oriented, type-A personality with extreme OCD (obsessive CLEANING disorder) and a well-known perfectionist to my friends and family. I see hosting as a challenge- one in which I must maintain my goal of perfection by simply out-doing myself. Sounds exhausting just thinking about it! But God revealed to me, The Humble Homemaker, that my hosting isn’t humble at all. In fact, it was chalk full of pride. And pride has no place in a humble home or a humble heart.
This truth came to me when I asked myself why I care so much about every single detail when I host? Why does the house have to be spotless? Why is serving my guests with paper plates simply unacceptable to me? And the answer: p-r-I-d-e. See how “I” is in the very core of the word? That’s because I wasn’t so concerned about every.single.detail for the sake of my guests. It was for me.
I’m not sharing this because it feels so good to put my flaws in the spotlight. But I know many other women who can easily identify with this same struggle. The desire for perfection- the desire for performance-and the desire for praise.
I was striving for praise, when I should be striving for service. That is the ultimate goal of hosting- serving those whom you have welcomed into your home. Hosting is not about the presentation- it’s about the heart. I shamefully admit that I have allowed pride to even keep me from blessing someone by hosting them. I wanted to wait until the bathroom was remodeled or we had more furniture for seating, because heaven forbid my house not be just so.
Last week, a woman from my Mom’s In Prayer group at my daughter’s school invited everyone to her house for prayer, food and to watch the movie, War Room. I was expecting this immaculately gorgeous house, but was immediately humbled when I entered her home. It was quaint and cozy. Even though she and her husband have lived there for almost ten years, there was still the same 70’s inspired style since the construction of the house.
Her home was clean, but certainly not spotless. She unapologetically had a sticky spill on her table, dishes in the sink and toys scattered throughout. And yet, I felt as though I was at home in her house. I felt completely comfortable and welcomed. She wasn’t striving for perfection, she was striving for servitude. It wasn’t about her. She opened her home so she could have an opportunity to bless our Mom’s In Prayer group. And she accomplished that goal! Even without the table scape!
It made me ask myself: how do people feel when they come to my home? Do they feel at home? But more importantly, what is the condition of my heart when I am hosting? I was humbly reminded of the words in Matthew 23:12: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
I’m not suggesting to not prepare a beautiful meal or plan for the occasion. I do still enjoy those aspects of hosting. But I want to make serving others in the name of the Lord my ultimate focus, rather than receive prideful honor. Even though relinquishing my perfection may cause me to die a thousand slow deaths inside, (and that’s ok-I’m still working on it!) I pray with God’s help, I can let go of pride and be the humble host He calls me (and you!) to be.
When we are hosting, we are not only welcoming people into our homes, we are welcoming them into our lives. And our lives aren’t perfect. But with a humble heart, I believe our lives (and hosting) can be a blessing and give honor where it is due- to Christ!
The Humble Homemaker