(this post is recycled and slightly re-edited from last November.)
In His incarnation, Christ has knit creation back together and sanctified our flesh, our mundane. He has redeemed for us all the ‘actual textures of physical life’ and granted us the ‘full extent of the mysteries of the incarnation and all that flows from it, and all that make our mortal life fruitful once more.”
“The incarnation took all that properly belongs to our humanity and delivered it back to us, redeemed. All of our inclinations and appetites and capacities and yearnings are purified and gathered up and glorified by Christ. He did not come to thin out human life; He came to set it free. All the dancing and feasting and processing and singing and building and sculpting and baking and merrymaking that belong to us, and that were stolen away into the service of false gods, are returned to us in the gospel.”
You know the list. Laundry, cooking, dishes, schooling, some crafting, a whole lot of reading and even the noble task of rearing young girls in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It’s quite noble work but it’s so easy to despise it. To wish it away while daydreaming about grandiose plans and schemes of lunches with friends, slow workouts followed by lingering visits to the coffee shop.
But my life doesn’t look like that most days.
Most days, I’m here, doing ordinary work, in a never ending cycle.
Washing the same dishes, cooking the same food, teaching the same prepositions and direct objects and fractions.
But today, I choose to relish it.
I hold the laundry tight and inhale extra long and think about the love that is modeled when a woman washes the same clothes over and over, day in, day out—-almost touching something sacred—-this washing and consecrating of materials things for a noble and good purpose. Lingering in the renewal that comes from being clean. My heart aches for that washing too. Perhaps it’s a blessed thing, this daily rhythm of life. We love the grand scale, the best days, the shiny things. The bright newness of God’s blessed restoration.
But what about all those ordinary days? Where is God then?
He always chooses the ordinary things to do his greatest work.
He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
He chose ordinary fishermen.
He comes to us in the most humble of ways.
He gives bread to feed us. Water to wash us. A baby to save us.
He is no despiser of the small days.
It is in them that we see the key to life.
Not in falling in love but in loving everyday, with clean socks and warm soup.
Not in that one blissful day of childbirth but in the birth of each day, one a time, where the daily routine teaches us to depend on our Father, who has made no provision for tomorrow—but only today, in this daily bread.
Perhaps this thing I’ve come to dread—-this daily drudgery—-is in fact my greatest teacher, in disguise.
Teaching me to live in this moment. With these children. And this sacred work. It’s really all there is.
Today is the day of salvation.
So, I hold on tightly to little hands. And I stir the soup. And I fold the towels.
And I say thank you for this work, this calling.
And for this blessed ordinary day—where grace and mercy rain down and turn water into wine, drudgery into vocation, and curse into blessing.
(quotes taken from Evangelical is Not Enough by Thomas Howard, first quotation paraphrased and links all to podcasts of Issues Etc.org )
I wish you joy in all of your ordinary days!
And blessed Advent to you.