All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. Philippians 4:22 NIV
“Your wife is a special lady” said a mother who was talking with me recently. “She is so warm and friendly. Even in the Walmart.” She then took her arms and made a big circle and then closed the circle close to her body. “Even in the Walmart, she will give you a hug.” A smile covered her face.
Greetings – it’s the greek word aspazomai, which is a compound of “a” and “ spao; to enfold in the arms,”. It means to welcome, salute, embrace or greet.
Have we lost the art of greeting?
I was listening to a speaker the other day, who added a qualifier in her story, “I am a hugger”. She was warning us that if she gets close to us, she may want to give us a hug in the greeting. But a warm greeting is not regulated to just hugging. We all look forward to being properly welcomed when we attend a gathering, like going to church. When the greeting is missing, we find it very easy to stop attending. It can be the most important “taste” of a new gathering.
Helpful greeting tips.
- Some are better than others at greeting people, but that doesn’t let you off the hook.
- Identify your best greeters and station them in places to receive both members and guest.
- Make eye contact and include a smile. People are hungry to be noticed. The eye contact let’s people know that they have been seen. Follow up with a verbal greeting of “hello” or “how are you?”, otherwise it gets awkward just looking.
- Use the name in your greeting. I am not good at this, but I long to be better. We love to hear our name. Make sure your return the favor to the one who just greeted you.
- Use appropriate touch. Not everyone wants a hug. Handshakes are still meaningful. In our culture today, men should refrain from hugging women. Still, touch is so important in peoples lives that Jesus used meaningful touch to those who were outcast and felt untouchable.
- Be authentic. Be careful not to fall into the pattern of repetitive phrases that lose the warm emotional connection to your greeting.
Your greeting can make a huge impact in the hope that someone needs today. It’s part of the desire that each has for a true sense of belonging. We long to know that somebody remembers to include “me” into their circle of friends.
May we recapture the art and necessity of authentic and meaningful greetings. By the way, my wife sends her love to each of you.
Blessings Love y’all.