The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

When I was a child, one of my favorite tales was a short story by William Dean Howells called “Christmas Every Day,”  in which a little girl gets her wish to have it be (you guessed it) Christmas every day for one year.

It doesn’t go well.

Because, as it turns out, people can only handle so much merriment, so much turkey and cranberries, so many tummy aches, and so much present-getting and -giving before getting sick of it all.

Now let’s be clear: this does not describe my mood last week.  This Christmas season was lovely and loving; I would not have minded its lasting a bit longer.

And yet I must confess to a certain sigh of relief when I walked into church this morning and found us squarely back in the Sundays of Ordinary Time.  Green vestments.  Regular hymns from the middle of the book.  The comforting progression of old familiar readings as we make our way through one of the Gospels (Mark this year, which is short, so we get a bit of John too).  Coming to church week after week as an act of fidelity, not because of something out-of-the-ordinary, but because worshipping together in good times and bad adds warmth and richness to the most ordinary weeks.

This year, of course, I am especially excited about the season because my book Finding God in Ordinary Time will be released in September.  And since we only have six Sundays in winter Ordinary Time before we head into Lent / Easter / Pentecost etc., I am going to celebrate by sharing something from the book here each week.  So please come back, and if you haven’t done so yet, please sign up to follow this blog (hit the button on the lower left) and share it with your friends–especially those who happen to be in the book selling, book buying, or book reviewing industries!

For this week’s peek, here’s my explanation of why I chose the title:

And so I give you Finding God in Ordinary Time. It’s a bit of a play on words. In my Roman Catholic tradition, “Ordinary Time” is the long liturgical season that offers a little teaser between Christmas and Lent, and then stretches out for almost half a year between Pentecost and Advent. Many prayer resources are designed for those special seasons, so I’m happy to provide something for this less dramatic, more ordered procession of weeks. For people of any or no faith tradition, however, Ordinary Time also refers to the way we experience our days. Each life contains certain moments of awe. We welcome a baby into the world or accompany a loved one out of it. We go on retreat and have a profound religious experience. We take the vacation of a lifetime and sink to the ground in reverence at the edge of the Grand Canyon or beneath a bright field of stars. But those experiences, though real, are also rare. Literally as well as liturgically, most of our days are spent in ordinary time.

May each of your ordinary days be extraordinarily blessed.

See you next week!




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