Our family usually marks the holiday season by doing something in relation to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. The property has good memories for us. We always enjoyed the Opryland Theme Park (not closed) when our children were young. We attended at least three student mission conferences held at the hotel during the Christmas/New Year’s holidays. We have eaten Thanksgiving dinner there as a family and toured the Christmas lights and decorations some years. Rita and I have attended Christmas programs or concerts there.
Like many, we were saddened by the closing of the hotel due to the flooding last spring. We have a close friend who works with guest services at the hotel and she was devastated by the damage. One Sunday this summer, we talked at church and she was excited about the renovation work and the opportunity to bring back the personnel who had been laid off due to the closing.
Rita and I spent a night at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel this week and attended a Christmas concert. We ran into our friend when we arrived, and she graciously stepped in to provide VIP treatment for us. She knows the meaning of hospitality and practices it both at her work and in her personal life.
Hospitality is a key part of this season. Hopefully, we will provide a more hospitable setting to family and friends than Jesus experienced at His birth. As we think of Him, we have the opportunity to rekindle our sense of hospitality for those we know and those we don’t know. I hope that at least some of your gifts during this season are directed toward “the least of these” whose needs continue year round.
Behind all the decorations and festivities, I need to reconsider the meaning of hospitality.