Ordinary Days

Written on

January 1, 2024

Our holiday season was different this year.

It started with deadly tornados ripping through our town. This event closed schools a week early for Christmas break and I found a God-given grace in the extra time it provided. Wally and I escaped town for a couple of nights to celebrate our December wedding anniversary (an event that often is neglected in the bustle of the season) and enjoyed a slower pace without obligations (an event that never happens in the bustle of the season). After visiting with extended family and worshipping with our church family, we celebrated the incarnation of Christmas with our daughters holding to our traditional advent devotionals and eating yummy food.

The following week has been slow paced too. Working a puzzle, finishing a novel, playing games and watching movies. However, it has had some hard things too – two temporarily-capped teeth and learning of the passing of some sweet saints. In three unrelated spheres of relationships, people I have known of – but not ever having the privilege of knowing, finished their time on earth and have entered their eternal reward, being with our Jesus.

I accompanied Wally to one of these funerals and learned more about the sweet mother of one of his closest friends. A gentleman that shared during the service commented that Mrs. Sue’s favorite day was Christmas and that God had allowed her to spend this past Christmas with her family before she passed right before midnight.

It was this “favorite day” comment that got me thinking. What was my favorite holiday? But, wait, that wasn’t what this man said. He didn’t share her favorite holiday; he shared her favorite day. Do I have a favorite day?

Sure, I like Fridays. Saturdays I get to sleep in. Sundays are pretty good too. There are a bunch of holidays that I do enjoy, but I tend to attach too many expectations on those. I appreciate the traditions and the purposes behind them, but I think my favorite days are the ordinary ones.

Leaving my teaching job at school to come home to do a load of laundry, a home cooked meal, and appreciate having everyone where they “should” be. Talking on the phone with my college student, picking up my high school student from her music lessons, praying with my elementary school student as I put her to bed and then sipping a cup of decaf coffee with my husband before going to bed – only to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

It is in the midst of these ordinary days where I live my life, I press into my faith, and I grow by God’s grace. By comparison, there are few big, special days. There are not many big, life-altering occasions, but many random, ordinary, average days. I want these days to be my favorite.

I want to live these ordinary days in such a way, that I am able to appreciate the average, value the mundane and embrace the everyday. It is in these days God shows grace after grace: breath in my lungs, food in the fridge, hot water in the shower and so, so much more. Healthy family, meaningful work, and good friends are just a few of the blessings that I don’t want to take for granted.

It is in the routine of the ordinary day that I can find God. Whether it is by savoring the sunrise, through my Bible study, in my prayer time, by worshipping with the car radio or meditating on scriptures or theological questions as I exercise – I find a rhythm that shapes who I am and how I respond to the little trials of the ordinary day or the big life tests that God ordains to come my way.

I can spend crazy amounts of time, worrying and fretting and planning and scheming to try and manipulate outcomes that I want for the special days, the major-life-changing decision days and the unforeseen difficult days – OR I can learn to embrace the “grace upon grace” I have received from “his fullness” (John 1:16) in the ordinary days.

I am not making any big or new resolutions for 2024. I will be reading through the Bible this year with my church family, but I will weave that practice into my already established Bible study routines. I want to pray more, with more faith. I want to hold “my” plans for the year with open hands, allowing God the freedom to point my feet and to direct my steps. But, all this isn’t done through big commitments or radical changes. It will be done in the ordinary days.

Not knowing what God has planned for the year – what changes He may initiate, what circumstances He may ordain, what courses He may cause, I acknowledge that my ordinary days are the days that shape the others.

These ordinary days are good days. I have treasured these holiday days this Christmas break, but, these ordinary days are my favorite days.

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