Kindling the Fire of Hospitality Part 2: Warmth
Hospitality is a practice which envelops others in an atmosphere of warmth and welcome, and which creates belonging.
“Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.”
In a world that can often be cold and uncaring, we are drawn to warmth. Hospitality kindles that warm fire. The term ‘hearth and home’ conjures comfort and warmth. In fact, the hearth is called the Heart of the Home. This is a place of contented well-being, where we can be ourselves, a space for relaxed togetherness.
In Denmark, one of the national, treasured values is Coziness. It is called Hygge (“hoo-guh”). Meik Wiking, who wrote the book The Little Book of Hygge, describes it as being “consciously cozy… like a warm hug, but without the physical contact.” Wherever there is hygge, there is relaxation, togetherness, comfort, and gratitude. Arguments are unlikely because no one wants to ruin the warm and positive atmosphere.
When you think about it, in a world of striving and pressure and competition and hurry, hygge is a rare and precious thing. I’m with the Danes on that! It creates a sense of sanctuary, of being sheltered from the outside, and makes me think of a Christmas card, showing a little snow-covered cottage, its windows radiating the warmth inside, and a path leading to the front door. Creating coziness for friends and family is a gift of Warmth—and a gift of Grace.
The first part of our Hospitality Continuum begins with Warmth, an agreeable prospect. We will think about Welcome in the next part of this series.
Following is a quote taken from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, about a girl and her tea tray. You will come away with a hygge sense of Warmth:
“When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.”
Yours for a return toward Grace, Civility, Beauty, Gentility, and Excellence,