Last Tuesday was Epiphany. Epiphany is a Christian festival, observed (in the rhythm of the church year) on January 6, celebrating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles represented by the Magi (Matt. 2:1-12). Today, we commemorate Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan River, which launches us into the season between Christmas and Easter. We call this season, “Ordinary Time.”
Each season or festival of the church year points us back to the reality or “manifestation” of Christ in our lives. This one is no different, and in fact may be of particular importance. Ordinary. We contemplated Christ in the midst of Christmas and Advent surrounded by all of the trimmings and trappings of the season to remind us. But what about now… coming out of the hype, entering the doldrums of January/February cold, the trees and everything around emanating a certain dreariness?
Do we see Christ is in the most painful, dull, or ordinary times of life? Amidst the brown bare branches, do we see the beauty of the frost glistening on the end? Are we aware of the deep nourishment and growth that is taking place in those roots as they grow and spread underneath the frozen ground?
How can we truly see? We must first learn to settle our minds down. Christ, souls (ours and others’), and His Kingdom are not something we see or grasp with our minds. We must learn to see beneath the surface with spiritual eyes…to know His presence. To be present. A moment of quietness with Him, letting all those crazy thoughts, tasks, worries and fears settle down deep, like muddy river water that’s been shaken up. As we get still, things get clearer. We begin to see. I find this particularly helpful at the beginning of my day.
We can then take a few moments at the end of the day to do what is called examen of consciousness. This is simply taking a moment to reflect back on every aspect of your day – waking, eating, commuting, conversations, business dealings, difficulties or trials of the day, interaction with your world, returning to home and/or family, getting back into bed. No guilt or condemnation…just noticing where or if you were aware of Christ’s presence in the ordinary. He is with us in all things every moment. We are invited to truly be with Him, aware and participating, as He turns the ordinary into extraordinary.