December 7, 2022
In our church year we have just shifted from Ordinary time to the Advent season. Ordinary in this context means “counted” like ordinal numbers. It is a time where there are no major holidays coming: Lent leads to Easter, Advent leads to Christmas. Ordinary Time can sometimes feel like the weeks we cross off until something bigger and better comes along.
In everyday use, ordinary can mean something similar. Definitions use different terms: standard normal, nothing special, routine. Ordinary’s connotations are dull and boring. Ordinary is not to be desired. It’s the same old, same old. Ordinary is the status quo, something you take for granted. Ordinary is something to be tolerated while we wait for the extraordinary to happen.
Yet, this fall has been so ordinary that it feels extraordinary. We are back to doing things that were part of our routine for many years, things we used to take for granted. Over the last few months, we have been shaking the cobwebs off and engaged in the activities and events that were so commonplace a few years ago. I have caught myself thinking more than a few times, “What did we used to do….?” Thankfully, we have enough folks around who remember the details, indeed all the minutiae, that made up our ordinary school experience. I am sure these feelings echoes at home too, especially as you look to the holiday season and restarting all the familiar traditions and gatherings. So, the ordinary has shifted from being taken for granted to being taken with gratitude. Our time away from regular life has given us a renewed perspective on what we should value and appreciate.
Hopefully, this shift to gratitude is one we can sustain. The seemingly mundane parts of our life contain many blessings if we can just look at them with fresh eyes. Now that travel is a thing again, we can easily see the beauty in new places. Our challenge is finding the beauty in the everyday moments, keeping alive the extraordinary excitement we feel in our return to normal, ordinary life. The spirit is present everywhere.
As we journey through this season of Advent, I invite you to look forward with fresh eyes on the ordinary times. Seeing the beauty in our day-to-day will allow us to enjoy each normal moment. After all we have been through, I think we can agree that normal and ordinary are very wonderful things that need to be cherished.