Rachel Bulman ponders how extraordinary the season of Ordinary Time can be.
When I first joined the Catholic Church, I was simultaneously perplexed and impressed by the liturgical calendar. I loved the constant invitation to enter into the rhythms of the year with the church universal, but the green space on that liturgical wheel brought me the most confusion.
“Ordinary time” held a connotation of the mundane. I incorrectly understood it as a time to shake off the celebrations of the Incarnation and Resurrection in order to enter into the monotony of the ordinary.
Here we are, at the end of the First Week of Ordinary Time, and rightly understood, this is a time to not only rest in what has passed but to also prepare for what is to come. The Christmas and Advent decorations have been put away, and we return to the ordinary-ness of day to day life.
Allow me to invite you to allow Ordinary Time to not be ordinary at all.
Advent is filled with anticipation as we watched, waited, and prayed with all of those in wait at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke. It is not the time to abandon their stories but to continue to live them here in the now.
What was life like after the birth of a child? It’s anything but “ordinary." All of life has to now fit around this new existence. Everything changes.
Take that question deeper – what is life like after the birth of the Messiah, after the Incarnation? Everything changes for the entire world.
Do you think that Zechariah and Elizabeth lead an ordinary life after the Visitation? Did Simeon and Anna leave the temple that day, shaking off the Presentation as a return to the ordinary?
The birth of Christ changed their lives forever. They each became part of a community of celebration, a community built on a hope that was now becoming part of their reality.
Too often, we hastily put away the Christmas decorations and put the entire season behind us. We rest with no further reflection on what Advent gave to us.
The liturgical color of Ordinary Time reminds us that this season is not a season of stagnant, common being. Instead, it is a season of dynamic, extraordinary growth…of becoming.
The only way that one can rest in this season is to wrap ourselves in the truths of Advent, like a blanket comforting us on the way to the cross, on the way to Lent.
If you look at the periods of Ordinary Time in this way, then maybe the most fruitful times of these seasons of stripping away is the time of greener pastures that awaits us between the seasons. We do not abandon the anticipation and penance of the season preceding Ordinary Time but we use it as fuel for gratitude, for endurance, and for springtime.
After the baby is born or the new child is brought home through adoption, there’s always this incredible moment of disbelief. The desire for this moment has not only manifested but it has revealed itself as a profound, heavy responsibility, “So we’re just in charge of another human now?”
That weight grows in the light of the newborn baby that brings about the salvation of the world. You get to usher in the Child Jesus into the world. His life radiates in yours and brings light into all of the ordinary places. This is not “ordinary” time in the sense that we understand this word. It’s a time to make the common day-to-day life bright in the reflection of God becoming man, dwelling among us, and changing everything.
Copyright 2021 Rachel Bulman
Image: Nynne Schrøder (2018), Unsplash
About the Author
Rachel Bulman joined the Catholic Church in 2008. She is a wife, mother, writer, and speaker, but most of all, she is a child of God. She has a weakness for the Eucharist and really good ice cream, obviously not at the same time. Get to know more about Rachel at RachelBulman.com or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @rachelbulman.