In the Catholic church, the season of Christmas has just ended and we enter into “ordinary time.” On Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany, singing the last of the Christmas songs until next year. Now we are back to regular vestments, the creche is put away, the poinsettias have all gone to homes, and we settle into the rhythm of the liturgical year between now and the beginning of Lent on March 1.
Although in the Church “ordinary time” refers to the numbering of weeks, I prefer to ponder the more general use of the word. I think “ordinary” is underrated. Most of our life is “ordinary”: working, cooking, eating, cleaning, caring for children and elders,visiting, praying, and sleeping. Ordinary life is full and rich, how we spend most of our days. It isn’t particularly exciting, and I think that is what makes it precious. We aren’t meant to be jubilant, ecstatic, thrilled and dazzled most of the time, despite advertising’s depictions of life. I don’t sing as I do laundry, nor does my family grin with abundant gratitude over spaghetti. Instead, there is a steady, often predictable movement in family life.
I breathe a sigh of relief when the Church enters into “ordinary time” again. No special prayers, no special music, just the calming hour of prayer and the Eucharist, surrounded by “regular” people who faithfully gather on another Sunday.