Aubrey Eastway | December 11, 2020
By the time you’re reading this, Thanksgiving is over, and it seems the entire world around us turns into Christmas Mayhem. Diehard Christmas lovers will tell you that it’s not mayhem, it’s magic. Scrooges of the world will tell you it’s commercialized bologna. Children will tell you “Santa’s coming!”. It will come, it will pass, and then we will be reminded to feel guilty for over indulging in our gifts (and our diet), come the first of the year, before we slip into two months of nothingness. Wow – based upon how I’m writing this blog, you’d think that I hate Christmas!
But the truth is – it’s the day before Thanksgiving and my Christmas tree is already up. Not just any old tree, but an authentic mid-century aluminum tree with a rotating color wheel to boot. I have already given myself a mental pep talk to face the crowds on Black Friday. I have a list, a plan, and an eagerness to let the Christmas cheer fly! I really don’t mess around when it comes to Christmas! But to quote Cindy-Lou Who from my absolutely favorite movie that my husband will say I watch every winter ad nauseum – “doesn’t it all seem…superfluous?”
Earlier this week, I received a group chat text message from my mother, asking if I was still comfortable with hosting Thanksgiving this year. Mind you, I’ve been elated that my family even agreed that I could host. It will be my first year hosting – a rite of passage, if you will. I had already gone out and thrifted an entire tablescape, deep cleaned my fridge and kitchen, made my husband finally hang up decorations I hadn’t seen in years, pinterested to my heart’s content – I was totally prepared. So, when the question came of comfort, I wasn’t prepared. The more I thought about her question, the more I realized I missed the mark.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic. At the time I’m writing this I am 35 weeks pregnant. In my flurry to make everything just perfect, I forgot to remember the people I was doing it for. My initial response of irritation caught my attention – why would I be so upset that I didn’t get to host Thanksgiving? Why am I bothered that I already went and purchased 8 place settings? Why are those things more important to me than the people that fill the seat? My grandmother sprung to mind. My sister who occasionally suits up to interact with COVID positive patients flashed through my brain. My dad. My mom. They all, just like me, were facing the pandemic and had their own lists of worries and concerns, yet somehow, they all managed to put me at the top of theirs; meanwhile, ordering gold silverware to match my decor was at the top of mine. *facepalm*
“Doesn’t it all seem…superfluous.”
This happenstance reminds me of Jesus in the temple. If you don’t know the story, it depicts Jesus walking into the temple to see tables of tax collectors buying and selling, and in His righteous anger, he flips the tables and calls them out on their discrepancy. Now I realize that I’m not setting up shop and scamming people in a sacred house of prayer – but maybe I have been too consumed by the state of the tables, to see the Kingdom. This realization changed my heart’s position.
Rather than be consumed by the presentation of the table I set, perhaps I should concern myself to set the table so everyone has a seat. Thankfully, I hadn’t responded to our group chat yet, and I was able to open the conversation up to allow everyone to vocalize how they truly felt about getting together this year. We, as a family, made our own plan that allowed everyone to make decisions and choices that they felt comfortable with, free of judgement or wounded hearts.
But what I’m reminded of is that these conversations can’t happen with every stranger on the street. We don’t have the position in everyone’s life to open up a dialogue about whether or not it’s “safe” or “healthy” for them to do x,y, and z during the holiday season. We don’t have the privilege of knowing everyone’s career or medical history. We only see their choice to wear a mask, not wear a mask; to have Thanksgiving, to not have Thanksgiving; to travel or not to travel. We see the presentation, but not the entire person.
So, it makes me wonder, is your table set so that everyone has a seat?
Aubrey Eastway, Brand Ambassador at ULEAD