The comment was a surprise because all we had done was open our home. But what we missed was the fact that our home was a haven, a place of peace, fun, grace, acceptance and a sanctuary for some whose own homes were not.
Ironically, our home was smaller than their homes, had the oldest television, and the fewest toys. None of that mattered. It was a place of peace and refuge.
I was reminded of how important it is to ensure that in the chaos of our lives and world that our homes are places of peace, refuge, relationship and grace.
I love the world "hearth." It was the place around the fire where families would traditionally gather. They would enjoy the warmth, the fellowship and good food. Much of life revolved around the hearth.
With the insane schedules in today's world along with the distractions of Internet and television it is even more important to cultivate the warmth of the hearth whether we are empty nester's or a larger family. Like the warm glow from the window of the cottage above, the hearth is a place of safety, security and peace - if we will cultivate it.
It is not by mistake that hospitality is referenced so often in the New Testament. Inviting others into our homes is to invite them to our hearth, to the warmth of our hearts and the peace of our home. For some, like the students who came to our home in their high school years, it is a special place of refuge. For all it should be a place of fellowship and grace.
Recently we had a dinner with Jon and his friend Chris as Jon was leaving the Twin Cities for Knoxville and his life after college. His friend, Chris, hugged us and said, "let's not be strangers just because Jon is leaving." He still wants to join us at our hearth! It was a good reminder.