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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