“wel-come adj. 1. gladly and cordially received: as, a welcome guest. 2. agreeable or gratifying: as, welcome news. 3. freely and willingly permitted or invited (to use): as, you are welcome to (use) my car; also used in a conventional response to thanks (“you’re welcome”) meaning under no obligation for the favor given. n. an act or expression of welcoming: as, a hearty (or cold) welcome. interj. you are welcome: an expression of cordial greeting. v.t. to greet with pleasure and hospitality. 2. to receive or accept with pleasure or satisfaction: as, he always welcomes criticism.”
Webster’s New World Dictionary
of the American Language
I love the story of the elderly woman who was touring several guests through her latest upstairs redecorating project. Upon hearing her husband return home after a day’s work, she excused herself with the words, “Pardon me for a moment while I run downstairs to greet Andrew. I never like him to return home without welcoming him.”
Through decades of marriage now stretched into the autumn of life, through thousands of homecomings, this woman had preserved her spirit of greeting. What a warm relationship had evolved here over the many years!
Perhaps more difficult than developing attitudes of welcome toward our children is keeping a spirit of invitation open toward those adults with whom we live—husbands, roommates, or parents.
Hospitality toward the adults with whom we live is more, of course, than dropping things to rush with a greeting toward the front door. Yet this moment of homecoming is often an accurate thermometer which gauges what we truly feel toward our housemates. In fact, I suspect that the quality of our front-door reception can greatly determine the atmosphere of that afternoon’s and evening’s life together. It wouldn’t hurt us to adopt some of the essence of mythical or classic drama where toga-clad or be-furred men and women lift hands and voices to cry, “Hail! Therastinor, son of Midian, King of Numinor!”
Extreme? Well, yes. But something within must rush to salutation. We need to ask: Is it good to join company again after a day apart? Do we give entrance to our homes and hearts to each other?
My husband has always been pleased when the children rushed, jumped, almost wagged their greetings. The cries can often be heard up and down the block. “Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home! Daddy! Daddy!”
Here again we adults need to learn something of childlikeness and extend to one another similar glad greetings. There is sorrow enough in this workaday world. There is grinding a-plenty. Home is the place we should return to with eager spirits, the journey’s end we reach with sighs of contentment.
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.