Fake Gifts

“This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:3)

Not every Christ we see at Christmas is Jesus of Nazareth. Not every Christ would slum it like Jesus did, or hang out with the people Jesus did. Which Christ will you encounter this Christmas?

If we only practice hospitality with family and friends, what virtue is there in that? Everyone does that.

3 thoughts on “Fake Gifts”

  1. The word ‘Hospitality’ simply means the practice of being hospitable. But when we add the prefix ‘Christian’, it transforms into something for which the people in this cruel world today thirsts for. Hospitality is one of the fundamental cornerstones of Christian faith.Christians believe in the Almighty who “loves the sojourner” (Deut 10:18). Christian faith upholds the virtue of welcoming strangers or foreigners, as Israelites were once foreigners in Egypt.

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  2. Sadly, I know some people who are very hospitable and caring towards strangers but treat their Christian “brothers and sisters” and blood relations comparatively badly.
    Also, these days, unfortunately, many families are geographically spread and so Christmas is a chance to come together to celebrate the GIFT of the Incarnate Christ together.
    However, it is always good to include thinking of people less fortunate, so something could be included in family festivities to address that. This year we are going to try “Strangers’ Manger”… family members anonymously donating cash in an unmarked envelope and the person who draws the “longest straw” from an “improvised “manger” gets to choose which charity all the money goes to this year. Imagination and creativity for a blessed purpose 🙂

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  3. Defining hospitality as “the practice of being hospitable” seems too circular for me. A definition I prefer is “the practice of welcoming strangers or guests”. But either way, I agree it’s a cornerstone of Christianity. I don’t think people have to be Christian to practice hospitality, but I don’t think people can reasonably claim to be following Christ without practicing hospitality. It goes hand in hand with grace. It’s a sign of understanding. In that respect I think it’s worth noting that the New Testament lists hospitality as a pre-requisite for leadership.
    Unfortunately I think we’ve often cheapened and sentimentalised the concept. We welcome strangers as long as they’re not too strange, and generally prefer our guests not be strangers at all. We prefer to welcome people who’re in a position to reciprocate. But this was not the way of Jesus. He challenged us to a far more startling practice, of welcoming the unwelcome as an expresion of uncalculating welcome.
    This is not sentimental at all. As a father of a young family I can assure people reading this that my wife and I have spent many nights discussing the challenges of interacting with disfunctional families that we sometimes welcome into our lives. What are appropriate boundaries? How do we make clear to our kids that some of the values they see in other families are not necessarily our values? And visa versa. How do we help them to understand that, just because we don’t call these families on certain behaviours, its because more important issues are at stake, not because we think its okay or open to imitation. “Making Room” is a great book on these sorts of issues. I suppose I’d like to encourage a holy restlessness. A dissatisfaction with cheap welcome.

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