As I mentioned in a previous post, after writing up my challenge of showing hospitality to strangers I came across the book Entertaining Angels: Stories and Ideas for Opening Your Heart and Home by Annie Chapman and her daughter Heidi Chapman Beall and knew I had to get it.
I figured it would be all about how to show hospitality to those you don't know, but I was totally wrong. It's that and so much more! Some of the areas it covers are being joyful (but wise) givers, being prepared for spur-of-the-moment hospitality, caring for people in good times and bad, planning for "the Mount Everest" of all parties (a wedding), what to avoid (as the guest or hostess) and much more. The book is full of scriptural references, recipes and practical application to help us all grow in showing the love of Christ through service to others. On one hand it is very light hearted and fun to read, but it also hits some hard topics that are beneficial to think upon and be prepared for.
Throughout the book Annie references a survey she conducted and includes some the responses. These responses were some of the highlights of the book for me, because you are getting more than one point of view on the particular subject. The survey questions ranged from topics like "What would your response be if you were asked to give a baby shower for a girl who is pregnant and not married?" to "Do you reach out to your neighbors during the holidays?". The two authors leave no hospitality "stone" unturned and we all can greatly benefit from reading what God has put on their hearts to share.
My favorite parts of this book were her examples of how they showed hospitality to people they didn't know very well or at all. After struggling with whether or not to let our unknown guest stay at our home, it was really great (and scary) to read her accounts of how that worked out for her and people she knows. Annie has had to leave early from a night out with friends to play hostess to a Christian Singing group whose tour bus broke down in their town, hosted a Thanksgiving meal in her home for homeless men and knew of a college teacher who loved to have students over to her home. Everyone was blessed in the instance of the Christian singing group, but the other two encounters were just too sad/scary and definitely has me heading her advice "...we made the decision to be more careful after that, especially when we had children at home. I urge you to do the same."
Entertaining Angels was a quick and easy book to read, that I finished in three weeks. I hope you can find a copy and enjoy it too!