Hosting at Christmas is a new experience for me by Ann
I have family coming to stay for a few days and also have a guest (that I have only recently met) staying for 4 weeks. My guest and I are getting to know each other by careful listening and with a bit of help from google translate. We are both mothers and have similar religious traditions but are from totally different cultures. Already we have cooked and enjoyed eating meals together. I have been introduced to foreign language chat shows courtesy of youtube, interesting how similar some aspects of our cultures actually are! It will be difficult for my guest as my family arrive reminding her of her own family far away and it will be a reminder to my family to be very grateful for the time we do have together. My guest and I are already benefiting greatly from each other during this Christmas period and whilst we do not know what the New Year will bring for either of us, we shall have the gift of friendship and new insight into our respective cultures. My New Years resolution ‘Must do this again’.

Hopefully my two guests will be company for each other (as well as for me!) by Peter

I am hosting a regular guest for 4 weeks in December and January, including over Christmas. I have also agreed to host a second guest, who stayed briefly once before, for the holiday week. Both are from non-Christian African backgrounds, and speak Arabic. Both have (I think) been in the UK for Christmas before but I don’t believe they have met. My normal routine of joining my brother and his family on Christmas day will still happen. Other than that I hope to include them both in any gatherings at my home if they wish. And hopefully they will be company for each other (as well as for me!). This is the first Christmas I have hosted for Action Foundation so it will be interesting to see how the two of them feel over the holiday. It is quite likely they will spend time with friends they have around the area who share their cultural background. But no doubt they will be thinking of distant family and friends.

This Christmas I am looking forward to receiving more than I will ever give! by Margaret

Arriving home after working in rural West Africa for several months it was wonderful to have my guest move in 3 hours later.  She is from Africa and that first evening we all enjoyed an African meal (cooked by African friends) and all tried on my new guest’s wig!! Happily she is staying over Christmas – a truly international one with guests from Zimbabwe, China, Indonesia, and Nigeria, although I will be cooking a traditional Christmas meal with all the trimmings!  Some are strangers and hopefully will become ‘part of the family’. Apparently in many languages ‘guest’ and ‘host’ are the same or interchangeable and it is wonderful to see our ‘guests’ become ‘hosts’.   Offering refuge to people means that my home becomes theirs and by offering hospitality one is the ‘receiver’ as well as the ‘giver’, as the ‘host’ becomes the ‘guest’ and ‘receiver’ on so many occasions. So that first Christmas –no guest room available  – unthinkable to turn anyone away – so Joseph and Mary were offered accommodation in the section of the house where the animals lived. But that home received the most wonderful guest of all who brought the gift of eternal life, Jesus Christ.

To find out more about becoming a Host please contact Lesley Dunn at [email protected] or call 0191 231 3113.