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Living in Ordinary Time

Anne of Green Gables said, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”

October is a marvelous month. We get a reprieve from the suffocating heat of the summer and a pause before the seemingly never-ending bone-chilling wind and snow of winter. October is quintessential fall—vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows on the trees; pumpkins and gourds and apples fresh from the farm; crisp mornings with sun-on-your-back afternoons.

What defines October in your life? Maybe your October rhythms center on college football weekends, teaching your kids who the “good guys” are and reuniting with loved ones to cheer on your team. Maybe your October is the time to test your summer training and pull out the stops for a PR in your annual half-marathon. Or maybe October is the “Halloween season” for you full of parades, parties, and plenty of reasons to dress up.

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 six 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.EndFragment    


Anna Moseley Gissing

Anna Moseley Gissing is Associate Academic Editor of InterVarsity Press. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild, and her writing has been published in Let us Keep the Feast and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two kids, and she aspires to more reading, more writing, and more patience.

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