Crabby Holidays


“Anabelle is becoming just like her mother.” The woman who said this sat at the next table, facing another woman in a multi-colored coat.

“What was her mother like? I don’t recall.”

“Crabby. Always crabby. Complaining about everything all the time. She got worse as she got older. Became mean. So, I said to Anabelle, ‘You’re becoming like your mother.’ Anabelle put her hand over her mouth and was horrified.”

“You said that to her?”

And the conversation drowned in the noise coming from the coffee machine as the barista ground more espresso beans. I could not hear the rest of their conversation, and I could not stop thinking about it.

The holiday is making me crabby. The last few weeks I have been more critical of everything. When James speaks of the tongue, I think of my own. If we’re supposed to be kind and loving (1 Cor. 13), I am failing.

Family is feuding. I feel that same unmet need gurgling up from the darkness like water back up from the toilet. I look at photos of family gatherings online and get crabbier. Gift exchanges are coming up and I am not in the mood.

I drank the last swallow of my tea and walked outside. I have to pick up a gift today. It’s only a few days before Christmas. I’ve put it off long enough. Beautiful display windows in town fail to lift my spirits. Gift giving is something I enjoy.

Why is it so hard this year?

…Because our normal family is having issues and the issues are like an untreated septic tank, beginning to spill over into the yard. Everyone can smell it, but no one is doing anything about it.

I have to be okay with it all. I have to drive down to the city and smile. I have to love like Jesus loves, and that’s not an easy task.

I don’t want to be my mother when I am old.

Then, I see the perfect gift and I buy it.

Jesus gave us mercy in spite of our own bad behavior. He didn’t say, “Too bad you took the wrong way on that trail. You’re on your own.” He gave us mercy and tried time and time again to redirect us on the right trail or path. People who were lost and found again can help others get found and find the right way in their own wilderness.

If you are a Mormon and you have questions, feel free to email me at I will be free on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, too. I care about your eternity. I care about your struggles.