Written by Kendall Jarboe
On the eve of the holidays, our minds naturally turn toward traditions, family, friends, food, music and company. For some, the thought of gathering with their loved ones around the dinner table brings great joy. For others, the thought of an overcrowded kitchen and a house full of family members elicits fear.
Whether one is feeling ecstatic or wary about the holidays, consider Biola student Michelle Nunez’s three reminders about a universal value one can foster this Christmas season: hospitality.
IT’S ABOUT THE LOVE
“Hospitality means to open up your home to people in a very gracious and welcoming way, to do it with love and not grumbling,” Nunez said.
It can be easy to have a short temper while prepping for the holidays, especially when decorating Christmas cookies or finding the ideal gift, but remember the heart of the season: Jesus. Nunez reminds us that hospitality should be shared with love, whether that looks like setting up the Nativity, gathering around the fire or reminiscing about yesteryear.
IT’S HOW YOU RECEIVE
“I had to do a hospitality project, and we went to someone’s house and cooked food for them. We were supposed to be the hospitable ones, but I think that they actually were. They were so kind and treated us like family, even as we dirtied their kitchen,” Nunez said.
Sometimes people can be so focused on giving that the holidays leave them emotionally and physically drained. While serving is a huge aspect of hospitality, graciously receiving can be a rich source of cheer. As college students, the last thing we want is to come back from Christmas break feeling unrested. Embracing those apart from your immediate family and allowing others to serve you can grant you rest.
IT’S WITH THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE
“Home, to me, is where my family is. I’m very close to them, but for others who aren’t close to their families, home is where the people you love are,” Nunez said.
Students seem to have divided perspectives this time of the year. Some cannot wait to be home with their family, while others dread the thought of returning to an unhealthy environment. Nunez points out that one’s idea of home can extend beyond a biological family. Home lives wherever you feel loved, so if the people you love most are at your college, then be bold in calling college your home. You don’t have to adhere to the traditional perspective on home and hospitality. Regardless of where home is and who family is, these three principles apply.