The End of Ordinary Time

What defines November in your life? Maybe your November rhythms center on football weekends, teaching your kids who the “good guys” are and gathering with loved ones to cheer on your team. Maybe you celebrate “No Shave November” in an effort to max out your manliness with facial hair. Or maybe November is a time of gratitude as you prepare to feast with family and friends on Thanksgiving.

Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to structure my life more intentionally around the seasons of the liturgical year. In recent years, many Protestant Christians have been re-learning the rituals and habits of living into these churchy seasons as a way to inhabit the gospel and to structure our lives in a way that helps us remember that God is the author of time.

And for those of us who want to inhabit the church calendar, resources abound for Advent and Lent, but not so much for the other seasons. And what do we do with Ordinary Time?

Ordinary Time covers the space between Pentecost and Advent. In other words, it’s a long time! It’s the time we reflect on and live into the story of God since Pentecost—remembering the early church in Acts and the epistles and ushering in the kingdom of God here and now. It’s long enough to build new habits, new spiritual disciplines, new relationships. It’s a time to recognize that daily faithfulness is valuable: our ordinary days can be lived for God. Ann Dominguez teaches us that “…Ordinary Time is our chance to become whole people—integrated people for whom Christmas and Easter are not isolated holidays, but life-changing events that have transformed the very fabric of the world and our experience in it. Ordinary Time is the season in which we become saints by the daily, unchanging disciplines of confession, repentance, forgiveness, celebration, and service, that our lives would reflect the glory of Christ the King.”[1]

In these last few weeks before Advent begins, I want to enjoy Ordinary Time, seeking God daily in my ordinary life, not pining for the past or worrying about the future, but daily making space to welcome him into my life and into my habits. Will you join me?


 

[1] “Ordinary Time,” in Jessica Snell, ed., Let us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home (Oro Valley, AZ: Doulos Resources, 2014), 141.

Anna Moseley Gissing is a writer, editor, and speaker. She serves as Associate for Engagement with InterVarsity’s Women in the Academy and Professions and Senior Writing Instructor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is married to Jeff, Pastor for Discipleship, and is mother to a second-grade son and kindergarten daughter.