On this day we remind ourselves of Community. Cooperate with kin and friends, doing your fair share, and remember your responsibilities to others. Volunteering is generally considered an unselfish activity and is intended to promote good or improve human quality of life. In return, this activity can produce a feeling of self-worth and respect. Remember to be a good guest as well as a good host, no matter where you happen to be.
On this day we remind ourselves of the virtue of Hospitality. Hospitality is much more than a simple welcome or an offer of food or drink. Hospitality is an attitude of heart that opens us to others and receives them on their own terms.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” - Anonymous
Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers. Cultures and subcultures vary in the extent to which one is expected to show hospitality to strangers, as opposed to personal friends or members of one's in-group. Synonyms: friendliness, welcome, helpfulness, or courtesy.
Hospitality means openness to what guests and strangers bring to us. We receive a revelation from the guest which can change us and enrich our lives and open us to new possibilities and ways of thinking and living.
Hospitality implies attentiveness to the other and to the needs of others, even anticipating their needs. As Gula explains, “The key to hospitality is ‘paying attention.’ . . . When we pay attention, we divest ourselves of self-preoccupation. To be hospitable we have to get out of ourselves and become interested in the other.”
Hospitality is the virtue where you recognize that, in addition to being an individual, you are also part of a community. In the ancient Norse world, hospitality meant opening your house to travelers and treating people who came to visit you with the same kindness and respect as you give your own family. The idea was that humans survive by helping each other and that, in a way, all humans are part of the same family.
You practice hospitality when you treat other people like they are your family, with kindness and respect. We no longer live in a world where you can safely invite strangers into your home. You can do other things, though, like treating strangers with courtesy. You can also help people in your community by helping with food drives for the poor and other projects like neighborhood cleanup and doing house repair for disabled people. Doing chores like shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor or helping children cross the street safely or helping a friend get settled in a new house are also forms of hospitality.
Of course hospitality is also making your friends and relatives welcome when they come to your home, and perhaps offering them something to eat or drink. The other side of hospitality is behaving well when you are a guest in someone else's home. It might mean avoiding a fight with your cousin or helping the younger children get something to eat at a family gathering. In general, if you treat other people the way you would like to be treated, you will be practicing hospitality.
Often our lack of hospitality is simply the failure to notice and acknowledge others and their needs - the needs of the larger world and the needs of those closest to us. Notice the sick, the excluded, the hungry, and those that others pass by.
Glad Yuletide to Everyone. Hail!