The Presentation (St. Mary Catholic Church, Tiffin, Ohio), by user Nheyob on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
By Amber Kinloch
I was recently reflecting on the Presentation and Simeon’s surprising enthusiasm at meeting Jesus. He’d waited so long and patiently for the Messiah, and what did he see? A baby. An ordinary baby cradled in the arms of his humble parents who’d come to the temple to fulfill the law. Exteriorly, there was nothing special about Jesus. As a matter of fact, one might regard His appearance as disappointing.
The same theme is repeated over and over throughout Scripture. God frequently manifests Himself through the ordinary, as when He reveals Himself to Elijah in a gentle breeze (Kings 19: 11-13), or appears to the disciples on the road to Emmaus as just one more traveler (Luke 24:13-35). In working miracles, He makes use of things like mud, bread, fish, or a gesture. In parables, He describes ordinary objects and people: a father, a shepherd and his sheep, a lamp, salt, a lost coin, etc.
How about us? We like the spectacular, don’t we? Miracles like the parting of the Red Sea set our imagination afire, as do saints who led fascinating, unusual lives like St. Joan of Arc or St. Padre Pio. Meantime, we look at our own lives and regard them as boring. We fail to appreciate the wonder of the ordinary.
The ordinary, however, doesn’t have to be dull. It can be incredibly beautiful and interesting if we keep our eyes open and look for God in it. We need to be like Simeon, eager to meet God in whatever way He chooses to present Himself to us.
This Advent, let’s open our hearts to seeking God in and through ordinary means such as our work, praying the Rosary, and our relationships with others. By doing so, our hearts will be better prepared to welcome and embrace the Holy Babe of Bethlehem.
Amber writes from the bunker of her living room. There she hunkers down with her laptop and a blanket while keeping an eye and ear tuned in to the activity of family life. Music set on loop keeps her energy flowing as she muses on the deeper happenings of ordinary life and what food to restock the fridge with.