I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t really like holidays. Holidays require a certain skill set I lack.

Skill set:

Gourmet cooking.

Gift giving.

Decorating.

Shopping.

More shopping.

Spending money.

Did I mention I hate to shop, spend money, or decorate? Alas why holidays aren’t my favorite, they require a skill set I lack.

And then there’s all those “end of the year giving” emails and mailings bombarding my heart. My heart hurts as I see all the needs. Many that go without in life. UGH. ACHE. And then there’s all those church functions – tis the season to be “more spiritual.” Except I’m not. I’m too busy trying to find the right present for my relative who won’t like it or ever use it. And then I have to spend the next month paying off my credit card for the gift that’s now in the garbage. And what about all those Facebook posts – pictures of everyone’s Christmas parties and holiday cheer – their beautiful Christmas trees and lovely nativity scenes. From the look of it you’d think everyone was having this picturesque Norman Rockwell holiday season.

But some of us are not, are we? There’s pain, confusion, lost-ness. And every year I feel the angst. I feel weird about the season. The preparation. Then I feel guilty for being such a Ebenezer Scrooge.

The table is the one thing that redeems my holiday season.

TABLE means there will be …

Food. Friends. Family. Neighbors. College kids. Babies. Chaos – with lots of food and wine.

51500nativityThis is the first year my mother will honor my table. She’s coming for Christmas. And my college kids will all be home. And some people I tolerate will be at the table too! And we will all eat – a lot, laugh, argue, drink wine, eat more, talk more, play cards, argue again, and eat more.  It’s a messy table. But then again so was the manger. The image of Mary with sparkling eyes and brushed back hair is just so wrong. For crying out loud she was in labor – no epidural! – sweat, pain and animal poop wafted in the air. That’s the real Christmas story. It involved divinity, beauty AND pain  – and poop.

Some of you love the holiday season, all the build up, decorating, shopping and gift giving. Your merry making is a gift to those around you. As for me, there’s mess in it. My skill set is lacking. My spiritual life is less than it should be. My Christmas tree isn’t even up yet! And as the season goes along I look at all of you and wonder “Am I the only one who feels angst during this season?” When Jesus came he came into a broken world – a world where beauty and pain co-exist. That’s the nativity scene I can relate too. One where God is flesh, women sweat and animals poop. Maybe that’s the true meaning of Christmas Charlie Brown.

If any of this resonates then you might enjoy reading the following article about Christmas.