Monday, January 10, 2011

Ordinary time?

Yesterday our church "undecorated," putting away all the Christmas finery and returning to what's called "Ordinary Time" on the liturgical calendar. All signs of jubilant festivity disappeared, and the worship space, while a lovely place, seemed empty and forlorn in comparison with the last few weeks.

Dramatic transitions always make me think about life and its seasons. When we consider our lives, I would guess that, for a lot of us, everything but special events and vacation are considered to be ordinary. We spend most of our lives in ordinariness, looking forward to unusual or exceptional, and when extraordinary happens, we miss it entirely, because it doesn't arrive with the fanfare that we might expect.

But every day that we are able to wake up, get out of bed and put on our slippers is extraordinary to people who are paralyzed. A slice of toast and a cup of coffee for breakfast would be incredible or unbelievable to a lot of people in the developing world. There are thousands, if not millions, of examples of mundane situations in my daily life that someone else would consider miraculous. So many of the ordinary things I take for granted are beyond amazing when I really think about it.

Sarah McLachlan, one of my favourite Canadian musicians, sings an incredibly beautiful song about how, really, everything is a miracle. I don't know who put these pictures to the music, but he or she did a marvelous job:

Today, ordinary or not, is an incredible gift.

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