Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hospitality (02/07/05)
TITLE: A FREEZING COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
By Joan Morrone
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Though I can’t sing, I was happily singing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” off key. In another hour I could catch my bus and be with my family for Christmas Eve. It was always a noisy fun-filled event with my six children and their mates and my sixteen rowdy grandchildren.
A ritual my so-called grown son started was that everyone threw their wrapping paper at “Grandma Joan” as they opened their packages. Of course I had to throw it right back at them. It was always a joyous occasion with plenty to eat and pleasant chatter.
I was a waitress and anxiously looking at the clock so I could catch my bus to go to the chosen house that year for the festivities. Arrangements were made to pick me up at the bus stop which was about an hour away from my work. We weren’t busy so my boss told me I could go home earlier. I ran to catch the earliest bus I could. I caught one just before it pulled out. I didn’t have time to call anyone about the changed plans. As we traveled along, the driver asked me how far I was going. I told her. She said she wasn’t going quite that far. Her route was shortened because of the holiday.
Then she asked if anyone was picking me up. I informed her I was early so I would call when I got off the bus. She said the stores closed early and I would have no place to wait or call from. It was the coldest, iciest Christmas Eve I ever experienced. To this unpleasant information she added: “The outside phones don’t work when it’s this cold.” No way to call and no way to tell them where to pick me up.
Two or three other people were going just a short distance beyond where we stopped. It was also beyond the driver’s route. She called in and told them she was taking us just a little further, still worried about me. It didn’t solve my problem.
Two ladies spoke up and said I could stay at their home until I was picked up. I could use their phone to let them know where I would be. Those wonderful ladies treated me as though I was an invited guest. They offered me Christmas food and drink. There were other people there, too. They also treated me like I belonged. It was such a wonderful experience. Every time I pass that house, I think of it. I didn’t even think to ask their names.
To me that is a great meaning of hospitality. I thought of the scripture in Hebrews 13:2 (KJV) “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” I was a stranger but certainly not an angel. They were the angels.
Jesus was always welcome at the home of Martha and Mary. He never had to be invited. “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Mary’s feet, and heard his word.” This is the ultimate meaning of hospitality. Jesus is not a stranger and should be welcomed at all times.
I am always awed when something like this happens to me. It always reminds me that God always takes care of the people He loves even when it seems impossible.
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