As we march the Christmas tree back into their unlit closets, we cannot help but slip back into the mundane cycle of life that had guided us through the weeks leading up to holiday. More often than not, we regret this return to normalcy, offering a little sighs under our breathe as life’s engine begins to hum at full speed. Though human nature often discounts the ordinary running of life in favor of extraordinary events, Christians should value the monotony. God uses ordinary life to form extraordinary character.
In Matthew chapters 1-2, God supernaturally reveals his will for the wisemen and Joseph through a series of four dreams. They are not alone. In Luke 1 and 2, we read that angels appeared to Zechariah and Mary. The supernatural story of Jesus’s birth could provoke a hunger in our hearts for dreams, visits from angels, and miracles. But upon closer inspection, the supernatural pushes men and women to ordinary action. Zechariah fulfills his husbandry duties and names a son. Joseph marries Mary and then takes his family to Egypt, and then to Nazareth. The wisemen take the alternate route home. The shepherds go hang out in a stable with a baby. No one storms Herod’s castle, reforms the Sanhedrin, or starts a nationwide revivalist ministry. The characters of the Christmas story simple do the next ordinary thing in faith. And as they do, the extraordinary happens, Jesus comes to save us from our sins.
Instead of regretting the return to normalcy that yips at the heels of every holiday season, Christians should welcome the ordinary. When we follow the commands of Scripture in our marriages, places of work, churches, schools, and friendships, the kingdom of God goes forward. Ordinary obedience transforms our souls, helps in the salvation of others, and facilitates the growth of our local church. The kingdom of God does not need the help of senators, conference speakers, or celebrities. Nor does the kingdom advance primarily when we step out of our comfort zone, jetting off to Africa or Asia for some type of monastic mission work. The kingdom normally expands when shepherds, teenage newlyweds, old priests, and Magi follow Christ in the ordinary things of life whether that is here in America, or in South Africa, or in Indonesia. Jesus said in Luke 16:10:
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
Don’t fear the boringness of your life. Embrace it. Obey God as you eat your cereal, wash your car, buy groceries, watch football, and help your kids with their homework. Even in the ordinary, you and me can accomplishing the extraordinary through faith by God’s grace. God is faithful!
Happy New Year!