Tonight is the first of a dozen or so “Christmas Eve” services at Willow Creek, our home church for the last two decades. I’ve seen every kind of service imaginable on Christmas at Willow, including one that looked like Cirque de Solei a few years back. I’m hoping the recession will protect us from something like that again. I prefer something simpler.

We’re taking the family next door, and another couple, to church with us, then inviting them back for coffee and dessert at our house.

One of the ways we as a family show God’s love to others is through our hospitality. I’m not talking Martha Stewart-type entrtaining. I’m talking about welcoming people to our modest, cozy home, and making them feel welcome. Putting out a few cookies, putting on a pot of coffee and just enjoying some conversation. this morning as I head off to work for a few hours, then come home to tidy up the house, I’ll be praying for those conversations.

To us, hospitality is a spiritual practice. In a way, it’s an offering we bring to God, with hopes it will be blessed, and its effects multiplied. We are not the kind of family that sits down for long family devotions, but hospitality is a spiritual practice we engage in as a group. It draws us together, while drawing us toward God. It reminds us of how God has welcomed us, and makes us grateful.

What are you doing this Christmas to connect with your family, and with God? What offering of your time and effort do you bring? What practices make you more grateful?