Monday, December 17, 2007

A thought on entertaining at Christmas

From a nice, pagan Greek:

At feasts, remember that you are entertaining two guests,
body and soul. What you give to the body, you presently lose;
what you give to the soul, you keep for ever.

That's Epictetus.

So when I clean the house so that it looks like I always live like that (hah!), and pick out a menu that suggests I always eat like that (double hah!), I have to remind myself that what's important is how they feel when they get here, how welcome, how comfortable. How the conversation goes, who is honored when they talk, who is given a chance to shine, who is urged into presenting their life and opinion so that it is as important as all others'. I want to be sensitive first of all that all can be entertaining and enjoyed, whether their talk is witty and quick, or mild and quiet. If their life has been sad this year, then all should be of a frame of mind to weep with those who weep, and if their life has provided accomplishments, to rejoice with them too.

This probably has more significance to me than to you, but I have some wildly disparate sets of friends, and if I can make them comfortable with one another by my hospitality, then all will be well. This will take some patience and shutting up on my part, although I admit it's easier to spot-clean the carpet, put a little curry in the sauce and choose the fashionable wine.


kc bob said...

Feeding the soul.. aaah.. a rare dish indeed :)

Milly said...

I get it. Taking the time to make them feel that you care is more important.

Therese Z said...

More important for both me AND them. They won't remember the delicious food (well, maybe they will, I do have a inner Martha Stewart!) but they WILL remember having a good time, feeling good about their place in my life and in the world.

Roz said...

Like so many other areas of our lives, it's wonderful that the wishes of God at Christmas (showing hospitality, celebrating the holy feasts, being generous) can coincide so well with what delights us. I don't have an inner "Martha Stewart", but whoever the Donna Reed character was in "It's a Wonderful Life" -- I have an inner one of her.

kc bob said...

TZ, I think that you are more of a Mary than a Martha :)

Roz, I can see you as a Mary Bailey :)



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