Several weeks ago when I read this book about the liturgical year, I wondered why there were such long gaps between the most important phases of the church year…after Advent and Christmas there’s one gap of a few months and after Lent, Easter and Pentacost there’s another long gap. They call these gaps “Ordinary Time.” At the time I thought it was odd that they didn’t add some other less important but still significant celebrations into the year to fill in the gaps so that you would just move from one phase to another.
But now we’re beginning Ordinary Time and I understand. I understand that just like we need rest every day and a break every week, there is purpose and pleasure in these rest times built into the year. It is so comfortable to return to the regular rhythm of our daily lives. Our regular mealtimes and our regular foods. Our predictable schedules and our quiet downtimes.
In our ordinary time, we’re un-decorating from Christmas, returning to preschool, eating more whole grains and doing less baking of treats, playing preschool games again (because one can never get enough Chutes and Ladders, don’t you agree?), and gradually regaining the slow and peaceful pace of everyday life. ‘Brother time’ is back (our version of nap/rest time) as is a regular quiet moment of prayer for me each afternoon. And although I love the bustle and busyness and the meaningful celebration of Christmas, I’m thankful to return my home and my life back to just plain “ordinary.”