. . . sometimes the holidays look a little more like this.


As you might have heard, I’ve been thinking about breathing room this holiday season. Who knew I’d have to stop by the ER to find it!

(Don’t worry. I’m completely fine. Just needed a little help from my childhood companion, the breathing treatment. One hour later = all is well.)

Hey, the truth is, this is what happens in real, human, everyday life. We have all the plans in the world. Beautiful music cued, advent readings collected, hearts tuned to the reason for the season . . . and then someone throws up (and then five more people throw up because that’s what happens when the flu is on the loose), someone won’t — no matter how many freakin’ lollipops he or she is offered — get in the Christmas picture, someone has to go to the ER for a pesky little breathing issue, and the flight home is –after everyone has boarded at 11pm and the engines on the plane are already running — cancelled.

Happy holidays (she said with a whisper of irony).

Steve and the kids and I flew to TX for Thanksgiving. My sister and her family and my mom all recently relocated there and so we decided to meet up at their new homestead. My brother and his family joined us too. For the first time in many, many years, we would ALL be together. ALL, in all caps, because it is so very exciting when the holiday stars align (and our expectations can’t help but hit fever pitch).

But when my mom wondered aloud if she could put the nail polish in the microwave real quick just to “warm it up a bit” so she could get the top unscrewed, I knew right then it was going to be a great week.

And it was. That’s the totally crazy thing.

Despite kids waking up in the middle of the night throwing up, me having to make that quick little detour to the ER, and our flight home getting cancelled, it was a great week.

How do you explain that?

Here’s what I’ll say: It wasn’t particularly reverent, but it was sacred in its own way.

That’s the only way I can describe it. And perhaps that’s what I need to take with me more than anything this holiday season . . . the reality that life can be sacred even in, maybe especially in, the down-and-dirty irreverence.

Being together. Laughing a lot. Crying some. Smothering each other’s kids with embarrassingly prolonged embraces. Late night Starbucks runs. Thanksgiving bingo. Stomp rockets. My brother singing Sandi Patty.

In the end, we finally did get a picture with all the kids and Gran . . . some clearly happier than others, some far less reverent than others . . . but, hey, we’ll take it!

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Wishing you a huge heaping helping of sacred irreverence as we enter advent . . . and the grace and sense of humor to tolerate it all!

Love in any language,


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