Sunday Stride – Not Skipping the Messiness


Sunday strides are written based on the lectionary readings of the day from the Catholic Lectionary. A stride is a “step in progress towards an aim” – for me, a Sunday stride is another movement towards the greater. You can find this Sunday’s readings here.

My sons have a habit of “choosing” Christmas to be sick every year.

The year I was pregnant with twins, my son threw up mid-morning on Christmas Day. Before the day had ended, it had turned into full blown hand-foot-and-mouth. Our children actually prefer getting full body hand-foot-and-mouth so he was covered head to toe in the little spots. Made for some great Christmas photos! 

The next year, it was the twins with ear infections that turned into an allergic reaction to penicillin. Then, the next year the twins had hand-foot-and-mouth on Christmas (again head-to-toe times two). The year after that we found an urgent care open on Christmas for another double case of double ear infections. Last year, one of the twins wasn’t sick but he had his tonsils out and was screaming in pain every four to six hours when the medicine wore off. And this year, we were in urgent care on Christmas Eve because my oldest had strep. 

[Let me pause and say thank you to all those who work on Christmas so that my ailing brood and others can have urgent medical care. We are “trying” to stop this pattern, I promise!] 

All this to say, family life is messy. It is filled with unexpected illnesses, injuries, and sometimes even heartache. 

But it is also filled with joy, even in the messiness. Santa still came each of those years, Jesus was still born… and the boys were still lit up inside with the joy that family can bring.

Today, the Church celebrates the Holy Family. In the Gospels, we don’t hear about the moments of double ear infections or hand-foot-and-mouth (or their equivalent ailments 2000 years ago). We don’t hear of Mary cleaning up after Jesus when he was sick or searching for someone to help her figure out exactly what was ailing Him. We don’t hear about the broken toys or the colors that somehow made it off the paper and onto the walls. 

The Gospels skip a lot of the messiness of the Holy Family, but I can’t help but believe it must have been there. 

After all Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were all human. 

And you just don’t get the fruits of family without it. 

Happy Feast of the Holy Family! My prayer for all of us this week is that we are able to see the fruits of family in all the messiness and live into the joy of a wonderful new year ahead!

And stay well!

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