We’re about to go into a part of the calendar that is filled with joy – a time we anticipate all year long. In Chicago, only “the end of winter” ranks as high as what we’re about to experience. It is the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas corridor. The food holidays, you might say, that get into us and remind us of sights and sounds and smells that draw us home. Then January hits. Snow. Freezing cold winds.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) kicks in and people start contemplating suicide.
It is staggering how quickly we go from the heights of joy to the depths of despair.
The Christian calendar has a period called “ordinary time” that this year will begin around January 16. Ordinary time is measured as the time after Christmas celebrating the coming of Jesus into the world and ending with Ash Wednesday as the world moves toward the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christmas and Easter bookend Ordinary Time, and our lives fall into the winter where nothing happens.
I think its very interesting that God does much of His best work in us during ordinary times. Coffee with a friend, an unexpected phone call, a hard conversation that comes out of nowhere to ambush our spirits and may hold us captive for a day or more.
Ordinary time. Nothing special about the day, but in it God is doing extraordinary things.
A formissional life has to begin to recognize that God is working fully and completely even when it isn’t on the calendar – even when we are feeling blah and have little to look forward to – and structure our lives to welcome this ordinary time.
*If you're looking for a resource to get through "ordinary time" consider Phyllis Tickle's brilliant prayer book called The Divine Hours. You'll want the "Autumn and Wintertime" as well as the "Springtime" book.