The Hospitality of Christmas

 

The Hospitality of Christmas

It’s hard to believe it’s almost Christmas.  Wasn’t it just July?

My tree is up, the mantle is decorated and everyone’s gifts have been noted.

While I love these aspects of Christmas, my favorite is our Christmas tradition of brunch, complete with pancakes, eggs, fruit and lots of coffee.  I’m not sure why we started this Breakfast tradition; it just evolved over the years when Jeff was returning home late Christmas Eve or having to fly out Christmas Day. I guess if the plane flies, it works!

In addition to hanging the decor, purchasing the family gifts and preparing for our Christmas meal, I  bake cookies or pies and take care of all the other small details for the holidays.

The list goes on and on.

I guess you could call me the Flight Attendant for Christmas Hospitality! And it’s a position I fill proudly!

A Flight of Hospitality

I’m sure you’d agree, the Christmas season can get crazy with all the planning and organizing.

I plan things weeks in advance, before I know it I find myself in the city of Super Target or the little town of Hobby Lobby making sure I have all the decorations, table placemats, and dishes for the Pinterest perfect Christmas.

It’s a nonstop trip!

When Christmas finally arrives I’m tired!   It’s likely that my final landing has a few skid marks along the way.

Unfortunately, when I get off the plane of Hospitality, I often realize that I didn’t take the time to sit and enjoy the trip I was on. 

I missed out on so much.

I didn’t savor every moment or take in the surroundings around me. I was so busy making sure everyone was happy, I forgot to sit down and enjoy my family and the interesting conversations they had. I forgot to laugh and play.

I don’t think that’s the way God intended Christmas to be celebrated. Do you?

Call me Martha, I’m here to make you feel comfortable

The holiday craziness reminds me of the story of Martha and Mary found in Luke.

Martha knew all about hospitality.  She welcomed Jesus and his friends in her home. She provided a home cooked meal and a comfortable place to sit and relax after their long journey.

She was focused on entertaining and wanted to make sure everyone was well fed and had what they needed during their visit.

That was her gift!

Jesus saw all that Martha was doing to please everyone and that she was continually making a list and checking it twice.  He saw that her intentions were good, but still, she needed to adjust her wing flap (attitude).

What Martha didn’t know was that she could take a seat and enjoy the ride.The problem came when she focused more on the preparations than on the company. 

After all, Jesus was in her house!

If we read more of their story and understand the cultures that they were in, Mary would have been expected to entertain and cook, as well, but, she saw it as a choice. And her sister was doing all the work, anyway. If she was thinking that at all.

Her definition of being hospitable was being with the guest and listening to their stories.

But why didn’t Martha make that same choice?  And why do I feel as if I don’t have the luxury of making that decision? If I’m honest with myself,  I am a Martha. I tend to fall into that role at any given time. It doesn’t have to be around the holidays.

Holding Pattern of Frustrations

Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet.

As Mary sat, Martha fully expressed her frustration by saying,“Lord, don’t you know that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

I’m sure Martha was thinking, now would be good, Lord! Oh, but God’s ways aren’t our ways, are they? For then Jesus said to her,

“Martha, Martha,” you are worried and upset about many things, but Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42 (HCSB)

When I think about their story, Martha was scrutinized for so much. She was always busy, and then vented to Jesus about why her sister Mary was not helping.

As pilot wives, don’t we all do that from time to time – vent about whatever is in our current holding pattern of frustration?

However in Martha’s defense wasn’t she the one that opened up her home and provided a meal for Jesus and the others?

She must have spent that entire day cleaning and dusting off the red sand from her floor. 

  When Jesus arrived, Mary sat down at his feet and enjoyed the company.

I was recently reading a book,: Unwrapping Martha’s Joy Having a Mary Christmas and Brenda Poinsett said,   “All kinds of things become possible when we invite Jesus into our homes. We can talk to Him, hear Him speak, learn from Him and enjoy Him. We can have a Mary Christmas.”  When we have those moments, it opens up the door to let us know Jesus better.  Quite frankly, my relationship with Him grows and strengthens in areas that only He knew that I needed. 

It was him showing hospitality to me.

Brenda went on to say that, “Martha had an advantage that made her WANT Jesus to come to her house, He was right there in person!”

Inviting Jesus to our Christmas

Durning this crazy busy season in what ways can we pilot wives spiritually walk up to Jesus and invite him to our Christmas?

1.In the days leading up to Christmas take some time, five minutes, an hour or whatever you can do and just pray, offer God your thoughts and worries. Let him be with you.

2.  Set aside distractions and take time to enjoy that cup of coffee or tea. And listen to others.  Listen to what God has to say.

3. . Be open to unexpected arrivals. Christmas isn’t about Pinterest perfection. Offer Grace not only for others but more importantly for yourself.

4. When setting the table for the Christmas meal do so in a way that is comfortable. It can be as simple as your everyday plates, or paper plates, for that matter.  Enjoy who you are sitting next to be open to listening to their stories.

Christmas will be here, and before you blink your eye, it’s  gone. Because of this, I do my best to make sure everyone has what they need and desire. It’s important to me that my family and friends are warm and well-fed and comfortable.  In doing that I feel that is when I can celebrate Jesus.

As I share with you about Christmas Hospitality, if I were to pick a shoe to wear, I believe I would have to go and wear my open toe bootie.  you can go here

Why?

Just as its essential to have an open heart for when your pilot arrives home,  I believe that we should have that same thought of experiencing Jesus.  In doing so, that is a way to have a Mary Christmas. 

Just as Martha opened her heart ( door) to Jesus; it would be as we are inviting in the Spirit of Jesus.

Isn’t that was Christmas is about?

every good and perfect gift is from above.

 

When my children open up there stocking and gifts, I want to have an open heart to enjoy their smiles and love.  At our Christmas Breakfast, I need to stop and enjoy my cup of coffee and be open to the warmth that they bring to the table.

The willingness to be open to celebrating the birth of Jesus. To humble ourselves in trying not to do so much and just enjoy sitting down with the people we love.

My pilot wives, may you have a wonderful, blessed Christmas. Love on your pilot, love on your kids. Most importantly, love yourself!

 

Love for you to fly over to The Takeoff and Landings Facebook page. Where we can talk and encourage each other while living this life.

Take off and Landings Always,Tiffany

The Not-So-Jolly Emotions of a Pilot’s Wife at Christmas

 

Brown and Blue Small Business Presentation (1)

The Not-So-Jolly Emotions of a Pilot’s Wife at Christmas

When my girls were twelve and seven, they were taking ballet for a season. As the holidays approached, they had been practicing several routines for the big Christmas event.

As excited as I was to see my girls perform, a growing anxiety rose within as I knew what would be required of me.  There was only one of me, but there were two girls, two different dances, two costume changes and two hair prep demands.

With Jeff working I wondered, how would I get it all done?

  When the big day arrived, I tried to balance my husband being gone and my parents’ arrival with the demands of getting the girls’ hair and makeup ready and a two-year-old needing a nap.

Needless to say, girlfriend, I was not in a jingle-bell Christmas spirit! All I really wanted was some quiet, and a  have glass of wine!

Finding a seat of cheer

When I arrived at the Hall, I took the girls to their designated places for the performance. 

They were excited as well as my son.

When the girls settled, I needed to find a table to that would allow me to take pictures and have enough chairs for my parents and Jeff when they arrived.  As the world slowed down, I felt as if a plane of loneliness had flown over me.  All I wanted to do was take off.

To overcome my loneliness, I looked for tables with people who seemed friendly or for the familiar face of a mom from the ballet studio.

I don’t know about you, but when I am in a crowd of people, and by myself, it’s not fun. 

When I finally found a place to sit, I was greeted with kindness and smiles. It was easy to find common ground for conversation as we talked about who are children were and which performance they would be in. At one point someone asked my son, Tobin, “Where is daddy?”  In true two-year-old fashion, Tobin replied, “Daddy, plane.”

Funny how those two little words opened the door to all the familiar questions”…Oh, he is a pilot?  How many days is he gone? Does he fly the same route? Do you get to travel a lot?

    Usually, I can handle those questions, but at this time of the season, I just couldn’t.

As I sat there with my new friends and answered their questions about my absent husband,  all I wanted to do was to take-off somewhere else. That’s not always easy to do in a season that’s supposed to be all wrapped up in joy.

Not-so-jolly emotions

When you’re a pilot’s wife, taking care of it all during the holidays, some of the feelings you have wrapped up aren’t always pretty and sweet.

  • A gift bag of frustrations because I have to do so much by myself.
  • A box of comparison and jealousy when I see other families laughing and carrying on about their plans for Christmas,
  • *A stocking full of loneliness.

Unwrapping the Emotions of the Holidays

I’ve been flying this Christmas route for years, and I’ve learned that those wrapped up emotions are honest emotions.

So how do I carefully unwrap those feelings, so they don’t pour out on everyone else?

1.  I remind myself that God knows my struggles and frustrations, and he offers me support and wisdom to handle those difficult times.

2.  I take comfort in knowing that God has equipped me with confidence and encouragement in areas where I feel as if “their” Christmas tree is greener and shinier than mine.

3. I trust that I’m not alone.  I may feel lonely, but in truth, God is with me every step of the way.

4.   I try to find comfort and joy in all circumstances and focus on the blessings I have: a smile, a wave from the stage or a little boy laying his head on my shoulder.  Most importantly,  I have a husband who loves me and wants to be there for recitals and events. Even if he is a little late.

Recently, I asked my girls if they remember their dad being at their Christmas program.They don’t recall their dad showing up late.  What they remember is their dad giving them hugs and kisses after their performance.   Both of them said, “Of course, he was there!”

Looking back now, I have to admit, that day was fun.  I was proud of my girls, and my heart was full love and joy watching them on stage. 

I know first hand that this time of the season I experience a multiple of emotions and challenges of being a pilot wife.  I have to continually remind myself to be open for unexpected bumps,  detours, and even late arrivals.

A Shoe for the season

So what type of shoe should we pilots’ wives slip on to feel secure, confident, and not-so-alone during this holiday season?

Personally, I love a canvas Ked sneaker.

Why?

  Because canvas is a durable fabric. It’s tough, and it withstands a lot of things.

How appropriate since the Keds company motto is, “To empower women to be who they want to be and go where they want to go.”

Wow! Isn’t that like us as pilot’s wives to feel empowered and strong, especially during this, or any season?

I also love how versatile a canvas Ked can be: festive and sparkly or just plain white.  It’s the kind of shoe that can take you from day to night, so you’re ready for anything. It’s also the perfect shoe to chase a 2 yr-old around while suddenly stopping to watch your girls on stage.

There’s no doubt I need that type of shoe during the holiday season!I

Decorating my canvas Ked

If I were to decorate my Keds, I would add a little glitter and color but, I would also paint a verse on each one.

On one side, I would have “I can do anything through Christ that strengthens me.”

( Philippians 4:13 NIV)  The other shoe I would paint, “The steps of the godly are directed… He delights in every detail of their lives. ( Psalm 37:23 NLT)

I can do anything through Christ that strengthens me.z (1)

 

 

I can do anything through Christ that strengthens me.z

These verses comfort me as I am easily distracted when things get off course, or I find myself getting lost in all the events, i.e., performances, parties, etc. They are my reminder that God is watching over me, and directing my steps. 

You and I just need to trust him! 

This season let’s remember that  God knows what we are doing at all times. From juggling our kids’ activities to feeling alone in a crowd and to the frustrations and overwhelming feelings of trying to do it all. 

After all, isn’t He the one who designs our shoes for whatever flies into our path?

How would you decorate your holiday Keds? Leave a comment below, and let’s share what sort of Keds we’re wearing this Christmas.

Love for you to fly over to The Takeoff and Landings Facebook page. Where we can talk and encourage each other while living this life.

Take off and Landings Always,Tiffany