I’m pretty sure this season should be called “the time of finding stray pine needles all over my house until Lent” (or maybe next Advent) instead of just plain old “Ordinary Time”. Yes, we caved and took down our Christmas decorations a week before the official Church time was over, mostly because we were so tired of my two-year-old constantly taking the ornaments off the tree and pulling on the lights. And even better, as soon as the artificial pine made its glorious appearance, it became his hiding place to, ahem, “do his business”. Sure, he cried when he saw us taking down all things red and green, but his daddy was elated to finally stop tripping over mommy’s ever-growing snowman collection that reminded us all to “Have a holly, jolly Christmas”.
So here we are, watching the rain fall from a perpetually gray sky and wondering what’s next. “What’s next?” my husband asks me, then answers his own question by listing off “our son’s birthday, then my birthday, then Valentine’s Day, then Easter, and before we know it, it will be summertime again…” Although we are relieved to be back on a normal schedule, we always have to have something to look forward to, don’t we? Something exciting or uplifting just around the bend that keeps our spirits high and our attitudes from plunging into the mud puddles forming outside.
Far from a flippant “aaahhh, life is good” these occasions provide an opportunity for celebration. Yes, life is worth celebrating. Birthdays, holidays, marriage anniversaries, baptismal anniversaries, saint name feast days, and even a plain old weekend is worth celebrating because we do it together as a family.
As the years pass and I look ahead to my 40th birthday this fall, I find myself looking for more and more reasons to celebrate, to be joyful and share joy. The onset of massive amounts of information brought on by the digital age tends to focus on the negative, the dramatic, the outrageous or the picture perfect. I prefer to focus on the real and the ordinary: when your son scores two goals at a soccer game or dares to try a new sport, when your preschooler asks you to teach him how to read, when your toddler starts learning how to talk, when your new baby just starts to giggle.
Every day the human intermingles with the divine in those sudden realizations, those little epiphanies, those moments of forgiveness and healing, those sentiments of profound gratitude. I care nothing about the latest technology or the latest fashion. I consider it a small miracle that I have a phone that works and that I get to work on time bathed and without my clothing on inside out. I spend much more time considering needs rather than wants. My life is full of dumb jokes that I consider hilarious, my children’s hugs and kisses that warm my heart, infant bodily fluids that I try to clean up with smile, constant sibling squabbles that I have little patience for and a faith that keeps me going through it all. And these, my friends are the things worth celebrating.