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  • Sylvia A. Howard

Ordinary Can Be Extraordinary



Do you experience a sort of emotional let-down after the excitement of the Christmas holidays like I do? My holiday included visiting with friends and family I rarely see, eating delicacies saved for Christmas-time, watching movies by the fireplace, a candlelight Christmas Eve service, long walks in the woods,, and my all-time favorite…. sleeping late and waking up not sure what day of the week it was. Well, you know, Christmas-time is just extraordinary!



Mary and Joseph must have also experienced a let-down of sorts after the excitement of their first Christmas. After all, they experienced the birth of their first child, just as the angel said. They were visited by shepherds who shared with them with wonder what the angels had told them. Simeon and Anna confirmed to them the salvation their baby would bring to the world. And then…”they returned to Galilee to their town of Nazareth.”


Mary and Joseph went back to the ordinary tasks of doing dishes, cleaning the house, feeding animals, building furniture, and now, taking care of a newborn baby. They returned to Nazareth in obedience to do what God called them to do…the ordinary tasks of daily life. But among them was the Promise, growing before them, filled with wisdom and the grace of God. So extraordinary that Scripture says, “Mary pondered all these things in her heart.”


What we decide is ordinary in the heavenly realm may be divine. Washing diapers, getting up at night, and feeding a baby are pretty ordinary tasks but were divine in the life of Mary. Providing for his family, building furniture, and raising a baby boy to be a man was divine in the life of Joseph. They perhaps didn’t realize the magnitude of the impact their ordinary tasks would have on eternity, but neither do we.



May we return to our ordinary tasks in the same simple obedience as Mary and Joseph, allowing God to take them and make them extraordinary, knowing the Promise is with us, too, extending wisdom and grace to us, as needed. May we, too, ponder in our hearts His presence and work in our lives. He is Immanuel, God with us, which makes every day, Christmas, which after all, is quite extraordinary!


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Sylvia A. Howard

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