Ordinary time begins today. And I need some ordinary time – the sacredness of the everyday, honoring each day for what it is. In the morning, noon and night. In the showering, cooking, carpooling, handholding. In the laundry, errands, homework, coffee. I crave the ordinary days filled with hugs, giggles, messes, interruptions, expected deliveries and fresh baked bread.
All of this is good – no need to dress it in twinkle lights, strew it with red hearts or toss any confetti. These days, such as they are, hold a goodness all their own. God declared as much when no one else was listening yet.
Consumerism needs to sensationalize each season to sell more, create excitement and entice ‘the buyer within.’ Starbucks put out a small Valentine’s display near the register – already. The sellers are impatient. Ordinary days might mean ordinary sales. They push us forward to spend on the next extra happy and heart-filled season. The grocery store, too, has its end cap filled with conversation hearts and red foil chocolates. So the next Hallmark holiday is reaching forward to grab our attention before we can settle back into normal…spending, living, being.
I’ve chosen to look past the displays for now because my own heart isn’t ready. I need the ordinary glory of today.
Now is the time to weave the truth of incarnation more tightly into the weft and warp of my ordinary life. The revolutionary message of Christ, the new king bringing a new Kingdom, must find fresh expression in my everyday. I move into the new year longing to embody His crusade into my calendar. No, I wake today and want the revolution to break into my routine. Ordinary time needs to begin in order for Christ to recalibrate my rhythm to match His cadence.
The mothers and fathers of the Church discerned this need for ordinary time. They named it and set it apart, the time between Epiphany and Lent, the time between Pentecost and Advent. These seasons ground us in everyday goodness. They create natural space for the feasts to find their home in us and play out in ordinary ways. I imagine the saints knew a slowed pace allows us to see God at work around us, to experience the Spirit stirring us in the most commonplace activities.
I can’t afford to rush into the next season. I’ll miss what must happen day by day, one step, one choice after another, if I press fast-forward.
I want to reclaim ordinary as a good word. So much ordinary goodness to see, honor, celebrate and even obey. I believe honoring the ordinary only heightens the feast days of our life. Living from one feast day to the next, from one festooned display to the next, gets exhausting. I think living this way gradually diminishes our capacity for joy. The holiday sparkle becomes less shine and more glare. Yes, we need to obey the ordinary goodness.
Or at least I do. So its ordinary time, and I’m glad.