Notes from Jan

Simply Ordinary

February 4, 2021

These are ordinary times. Not Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter but simply ordinary. This is according to the Church liturgical year, not the Boston Globe or a social commentator.

Well, yesterday, Dean Robert reminded me of this period, the ordinary days between the significant seasons in the Church year. So I decided it was time to take down the Christmas tree. Yup, it was still up. Chad came and dismantled it. So now you know it’s not real, except to me, like The Velveteen Rabbit. I have pine scented spray, which I spritz about to add mystery. But since no one’s visiting, no one’s fooled.

This year, probably like you, I needed Christmas to come early and hang around with tidings of comfort and joy. We’ve witnessed horrors and hung onto hopes during Advent, Christmas, Epiphany up until this very day. None of us is built to handle so much fear-filled information, sift for lies, remain isolated, or yearn for civility to catch-on in Congress. So sometimes I sit in silence to allow God to speak into my heart,”Fear not, I bring you good news.”(from Luke 2) And like long ago in Bethlehem, the good news comes wrapped in a person. Jesus.

Dean Robert taught from Mark six today. It’s the story of Jesus sending forth the twelve disciples. They’re “to be Jesus in the surrounding villages.” Jesus told them to travel light. Really light, as in, “take nothing with you except a walking stick.”(Mark 6:8, NLT)

This is so not me. I’m more like the person who annoys, entertains or draws pity from folks in line at Logan airport. More than once, I crouched on the concrete to open my suitcase and haul out as much as necessary to lighten the load. I layered on clothes for fear of added baggage fees. Fortunately, they only weighed my suitcase.

But it’s the Dean’s personal story that lingers. He was twelve years old and as part of a family fest, asked to illustrate a popular song back then, “Traveling Light.” So, he drew a horse with a candle on its back. Witty and creative. But then he reminded us, “this is what we’re to be, “traveling lights in the darkness.” We’re to be Jesus out and about, pushing back the darkness.

Well, politics and the pandemic reminds me that I miss and crave ordinary, uneventful days. And God knows I need help to travel light. Sometimes my suitcase bulges with worry, fear, opinions, resentment, guilt and distrust, for starters. But instead of me piling on layers, Jesus crouches down beside me and holds out his nail-scared hands, ready to take all I’m willing to hand over.

And that’s Good News for any day of the week, ordinary or not.

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16 Comments

  • Reply Tara February 4, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Amen!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 5, 2021 at 6:16 pm

      Yes, Tara, it is such Good News. Thank you for taking part of your day to read this blog.

  • Reply Sherry Tupper February 4, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    Dear Jan –
    You are not alone. My Christmas wreath is on the front door and I have three window light that are still shining brightly offering Peace and joy to all who pass by the windows. My big tree is down because I did not put one up this year. Due to COVID, my son and family were not allowed to come into my residence here at Edgewood and they are needed to put up and take down my tree, just like Chad. (However, I did have a small 4 foot tree that sparkled in the house.)
    And that travelling light piece, well that made me laugh as I travel with everything I might need and I have been known to take items out of my suitcase also. One time in Vienna, I put all my books and papers in my carry-on so the suitcase would not be too heavy, Wouldn’t you know they wanted to weigh my carry-on which was way over the limit. Cost me $100 to bring that home with me on the plane.
    Love the image of the light on the back of the horse, I am going to take that image with me. Oh, how I look forward to “ordinary time” when we can sit down and share a cup of tea together. Until then, thank you for carrying the light with you and shining so brightly wherever you go. Blessings to you in this New Year.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 5, 2021 at 6:19 pm

      Some of my neighbors still have lights in windows and on bushes. I love it! I think may put trees up earlier than usual and were slower to take them down. Oh, the thought of weighing my carry-on!! It’s always good to hear from you, Sherry.

  • Reply Shannon Granitsas February 5, 2021 at 1:25 am

    As I’m filling my bag to return home I laugh ironically at your metaphor! As I have been packing my parents to move suddenly my suitcase has significantly increased in weight with family “hand me downs.” Like a “candle on a horse” I’m praying that I “travel light” tomorrow as I fly back to MA.
    Love you Jan! Thanks for bringing Christ into this 24 hours and all the ordinary extraordinary of it!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 5, 2021 at 6:21 pm

      Safe travels, dear Shannon. And, hopefully, no extra baggage fees. I’m sure it’s hard for your parents to have you leave. You’re a good daughter..and core leader at CBS.

  • Reply Dale February 5, 2021 at 8:28 am

    Special because you are loved. The ordinary becomes extraordinary in God’s hands.

    Thanks for your faithfulness in advancing God’s love by honoring the gifts He has given you.

    Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 5, 2021 at 6:23 pm

      Well, I’m grateful you read and respond, Dale. You’re a good friend.

  • Reply Nancy vecchio February 5, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Oh Jan! You make my heart smile! Laughter is good medicine and I woke up to read your blog loaded with your sweet dry sense of humor! As it stands, or does not anymore, I took my little tree down last week. And the rest of my Christmas decorations were put away this past Monday. My thing is, I love the lights! Most of all I love THE LIGHT! ♥️
    These days truly are ordinary, but peaceful, almost “boring”, if I don’t listen and see what the Good Shepherd calls me to, as it seems I’m grazing a little too much ( if you know what I mean, , not the right pasture! Turn back! Get out and walk or ride the stationary bike, make calls to be a blessing, read a good book (the good book). There is really so much to choose from when He shows you and you pay attention.
    Thank you for your blogs! I love them! I love you and hope to someday see you in person to be able to give you a true hug and not just an air one!
    ♥️Nancy

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 5, 2021 at 6:25 pm

      And I love you, dear Nancy. Thank you for your leadership yesterday at CBS. You and Shannon are a good team. I’ll look forward to a time when we can be face to face and hug. Until then, thanks for your encouragment.

  • Reply Becky Erickson February 5, 2021 at 10:55 am

    Can you send or post the link for Dean Roberts daily devotional, please?

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 5, 2021 at 6:27 pm

      Well, I’m not too swift with technology. But…go to YouTube and type in: Morning prayers at Canterbury Cathedral with Dean Robert..then add the date. That’s what I do and it pops right up. You can become a part of what’s been dubbed the “garden congregation.’ It’s so worth the 1/2 hour or so.

  • Reply Nancy Sheys February 5, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    Amen an Amen!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 5, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      Good to see you name pop-up, dear Nancy. Thanks for reading and being a ‘traveling light.”

  • Reply Wendy February 8, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you dear Jan – wonderful!

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