It took me a few years to get it, but I have now accepted the obvious – namely, that summer holidays aren’t about me. Vacations aren’t about me lounging in a hammock as I read a series of novels or about me leisurely exploring the natural world with camera in hand. Of course that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for me in the summer months, but I have realized that summer holidays, for the foreseeable future, are centred on the kids.
But having accepted the obvious (resistance was futile!) there’s another question that has dogged me this summer. The question whether summer holidays are essentially or primarily about “making memories.”
Over the past five weeks I have come across that phrase everywhere: in a PEI tourism brochure, at a Canadian interpretation centre on the St. Lawrence River, in the Facebook posts of friends, and in everyday conversations along the way. Summer vacation, it seems, is about making memories – for the kids, of course:
Your kids will remember this holiday.
The kids will have great memories of this place.
Isn’t it wonderful that you’re creating memories for them.
A sermon preached this past Sunday – which we marked as Christian Family Sunday.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of hospitality? Can you remember a moment when you were a stranger – yet you were welcomed without reserve by another? Perhaps given a meal to eat, a place to sleep, a space to make your own if only for a couple of days. Perhaps you were put out of your house for some reason, perhaps you were traveling far from home, perhaps you were close to home but just needed the welcome embrace of another. Many of us here this morning, I’m sure, have at one time or another been on the receiving end of such a wonderful hospitality.
A simple example. While I was attending Regent College in Vancouver I was part of a college community group that was invited to the island home and farm of a professor – for a weekend retreat. He was someone most of us hard barely gotten to know. But on that retreat we were given a place to unfurl our sleeping bags, we dined on fresh pacific salmon, we made and shared in home-made ice-cream together. For just a couple of days we were welcomed and made at home and given a place.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines hospitality as ‘the reception and entertainment of guests or strangers with liberality and goodwill.’ The reception and entertainment of guests or strangers with liberality and goodwill. The Dictionary also describes a hospitable person as being ‘disposed to receive or welcome kindly, as being open and generous in disposition.’ Hospitality – welcoming others, inviting strangers in with liberality and good will, with a generosity of spirit. Sharing our space, sharing our table, sharing our home, and sharing our lives with others.