Things aren’t always as they seem to be.
The sacrifices we’d like to make aren’t always the ones we are offered.
The fruitfulness of our lives can’t always be seen exteriorly. In fact, we, the insiders of ourselves, cannot always see what is being borne from our lives. In the mundane, ordinary moments of our lives, there rests a significance that we cannot comprehend. Perhaps it is a gift that we cannot always see the weight of the moment and yet it seems necessary that sometimes we do see the particular importance of today, this specific moment, and the way it has a weight that goes beyond what we can presently feel.
The significance of Christmas resonates through the centuries. Yet two thousand years ago, something beautiful and ordinary took place. A child was born. While angels rejoiced, magi traveled, shepherds proclaimed, and a common stable was embraced in a heavenly glow, the momentous event was soon, once again, cloaked in the veil of the ordinary. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus didn’t float through life, walking on clouds or being obviously different from everyone else. Instead, Christ’s life is marked by instances of the veil being lifted, a glimpse given of the reality of underlying glory. Then, the veil is carefully drawn again and life continues with the same significance and yet appearing to be quite ordinary.
In our persistent seeking for the extraordinary moments, we often muddle through the ordinary. I can delight in hosting a meal and then get bogged down in the stress of bringing the details to life. I can be swept away by the ideal of home and then balk at the challenging opportunity to make it into a sanctuary. The veiled ordinary moments are what comprise the primary weight of our lives and yet it can be so burdensome to really enter into these moments, to trust in their necessity even while we are blind to their signficance.
When the glorious heavens changed back to a dark Bethlehem night sky, when the magi left their gifts and journeyed home by another way, and when the shepherds wandered back to their fields, what did the Holy Family do? While being critical lives in the unfolding of salvation, how did they wrestle with the uncertainty of their lives, the nighttime feedings and the unexpected flight for Christ’s life? Most of Our Lord’s life is shrouded in the secretive veil of the ordinary. He grows in age and wisdom is the offered summary of eighteen years of His life. The quiet of the quotidian wraps the Holy Family’s life in a gentle, secretive veil, like the inner lives of most families.Continue reading “Veiled in the Ordinary”