1Keep loving each other like family. 2Don't neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it.
There's an old song--well, it's more of a recitation set to music--by Grandpa Jones called "The Christmas Guest." In the story, God speaks to the main character, Conrad. He is told to be expecting God as a guest at his house that day. Conrad gets busy getting his house in order, getting ready for God.
He heard a noise outside and ran to the window to see if it was God. But all he saw was a homeless man outside with ratty old shoes and worn out clothes. At once, Conrad gave him one some of his own shoes and a warm coat. The man went on his way and Conrad continued with his preparations.
At long last, a knock came at his door. But as he threw it open, he found it wasn't God at all. It was an old lady who was tired and cold. Conrad had so much to do to get ready for God, but he invited her in and had her sit down. He made her a cup of hot tea and visited with her over dinner. As she left, Conrad noticed how late it was getting, and he began to wonder what was keeping God so long.
He heard a little girl crying outside. She had gotten lost from her mother and was scared and cold. Conrad grabbed his coat and boots and took the little girl back to her home. But when he got back to his own house, it was late at night, and he knew God was not coming.
He went into his bedroom, knelt down to pray, and asked why God hadn't come that day. God's reply was surprising. It turns out, God did come--three times. "For I was the beggar with bruised, cold feet. I was the woman you gave something to eat. And I was the child on the homeless street.
"Three times I knocked; three times I came in. And each time I found the warmth of a friend. Of all the gifts love is the best. I was honored to be your Christmas guest."
Let us treat each person we encounter as if we were encountering God face to face.
If today's devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.