I couldn’t come off of a week like we had at our house last week and not say something about it. There’s been a lot of extra laundry, a lot of extra cooking, a lot of extra dirty dishes, and to-do lists that didn’t get done. But there’s also been a lot of laughing, a lot of reminiscing, a few tears of joy, and more blessings than I can count.

It’s what hospitality is all about.

A very special friend stayed with us for most of last week, and we put into practice all the good principles of hospitality, like making sure the house was just right, and buying new pillows for the guest room, and making a welcome basket with everything I could possibly think he might like. And then I noticed our kids doing the same kinds of things, like writing up a welcome board and doing the extra chores without complaining.

It’s what hospitality is all about.

And then the day he left, we cleaned it all up, and got the guest room ready again for a quick visit from my sister and “the cousins”. And there was even more laughter and giggles and fun.

It’s what hospitality is all about.

And even though I’ve spent much more time cleaning and cooking and entertaining than I do in a normal week, I’m the one who came out ahead. And even though I was up late each night and up early each morning and I had the dark circles under my eyes to prove it, I was still sad when it was all over. Because hospitality is a funny thing. It turns out that the more you give it out, the more of it you receive. It knits hearts together and turns acquaintances into friends. And sometimes the effects of a single person’s visit to your home can benefit your family for a lifetime.

It’s not about fancy guest rooms or gourmet dinners. It’s about welcoming people into your home to share a small part of your life. That person staying in your home for a few days might end up staying in your heart forever.

It’s what hospitality is all about.