Do we really enjoy those eight consecutive weeks or so of hyperventilating and catching colds and other viral infections due to pure exhaustion? I know I DO NOT. The gift we can all count on that “ keeps giving” is the nasty Holiday Cold. Ugh. Then, unfortunately, all the places we want to go, people we want to see, and food we want to bake becomes a little less doable and enjoyable.
Upon reflection, I would like to offer a different perspective. The past seven years have taught me what it is like to NOT be in control of those “to do” lists and expectations. I am grateful for the opportunity to adjust and adapt accordingly without feelings of undue pressure or guilt. I want to enjoy with my whole being what the true meaning of each Season has to offer. For me, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and Epihany are all worth slowing down and sharing with others. For you, it might be different traditions that are expressed and shared with your loved ones. These celebrations can be meaningful only if we are fully present with one another and focusing on what is important.
I truly enjoy having family and friends popping in and out of our home all through those two months. I accept that my home may look neat and tidy one day and rather messy the next. This.is.okay. Yep, it is! It means more to me to sit down and share coffee, tea, hot chocolate and other treats (freshly baked or not) around our sticky kitchen table because this is our reality. And more often than not, our reality is a messy one both exteriorly and interiorly. We are who we are. I want our home to ALWAYS be a place of welcome to others. To me, this looks like humble hospitality. We, at times, have a full house when all of our family visits. Bedrooms are eschew, and we play musical chairs looking for places to sit. Lol! When my sons and their high school friends come back to visit, and the house is full of laughter and cheer, my heart melts a thousand times over. Even if my body is not feeling too well, my soul is certainly uplifted. Offering hospitality to others, in turn, heals me.
I love decorating and baking, but I give myself permission to do it only when I have some energy and not in much pain. Otherwise it becomes a burden, and emotionally I become irritable and even resentful. The same reasoning can go for anyone. If you aren’t up for the task for one reason or another, then no worries. You can find another time that will help you focus better. Save your energy for being with your loved ones even if that means store bought treats and paper plates. If your sharing is done with love, that is all that matters.
“Entertaining”evokes perfection and stress, at least to me. It seems to feel formal and fussy. Not that there is anything wrong with formal parties and fancy gatherings, but they lack spontaneity and simplicity. It is not a “come as you are” type of thing—- it is finding that right little black dress! Ugh! Talk about stress. Lol! Entertaining involves detailed menu planning, gourmet cooking or catering, and meticulous decorating. That also stresses me out because we never seem to have ALL the lights lit simultaneously throughout the season. It just never happens. So,we laugh and go on.
Humble hospitality invites intentional connection. The end goal is certainly not perfection. Loved ones and even new guests come around to just “be” with each other. You can come in your reindeer pajamas if you wish! Heck, just come. Sitting, talking, smiling, eating, and laughing are some of the greatest gifts we can give one another. They don’t need to be bought and wrapped in fancy paper.
I am greatly anticipating this most Holy Season of Promise, Love, Redemption, and Joy. It is my favorite time of year in which to share and celebrate the Good News. In order to keep my heart and body in balance, I won’t be formerly entertaining, but I will open our door and warmly invite all who wish to come to gather for conversation, connection, and communion. Come.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.