The holy days

It’s Monday, and many of us are still groggy from the weekend. It’s a struggle to force our bodies and families back into the routine, like stuffing ourselves into stiff jeans after wearing leggings a bit too long. Monday can be a challenge. It couldn’t feel less sacred, and yet, like any other day, it is.

My favorite Christmas Eve tradition is to visit the Anglican church for their beautiful midnight service. The archaic building with arched gothic windows, vaulted ceilings and intricate stained glass, a place where people speak in hushed tones and genuflect before the crucifix before sitting or kneeling in the cloistered wooden pews. Then we hear the angelic voices of the choir as they make a procession up the aisle to the chancel, cross and holy Bible held aloft. The candles are lit; the incense swings, diffusing its heady aroma. The crystalline voices join with the powerful organ in worship, and I think to myself as my eyes fill with tears that this is how we will worship in heaven when we stand before the throne of God.

But here I am, on Monday morning, pouring a strong black cup of coffee, thinking about the week’s demands and wishing I were better prepared. I could not feel further from the beautiful choral music and candle lit wonder of the church on Christmas Eve. The piles of laundry, dirty floor, and long to-do list pull my mind in a hundred directions. And yet, the King of Heaven is here in my kitchen. Here, my home — my heart — is his throne. These mundane and tedious tasks are my worship. During the long hours with a crying baby, or scrubbing a crusty spill off the floor, or compiling receipts for our business, God is present in my life, and my work is praise for him. It’s in the day to day that I am practicing holiness and obedience, growing in my relationship with my Father.

Observing special seasons and days like Christmas Eve is a biblical practice, rooted in Old Testament commands. The holy days observed by our spiritual ancestors, the Israelites, were given to them by God with instructions to teach their children how he brought them out of Egypt and into the promised land.

Additionally, we read many times how an altar is constructed to give a thanks offering to God after he has helped his people and given a victory. After being used for burnt offerings, these altars stood as monuments, reminders of God’s faithfulness for generations. The holidays we observe are monuments in the same way.

As we live our day-to-day, we can build our own altars to God’s faithfulness. He has shown me his goodness through his steadfast love, through answered prayers and gentle teaching. As I live in this relationship with him, growing in maturity and holiness, my day to day is the physical manifestation of the worship of my heart.

The Kingdom of God is among us. In our relationships, in our caring for others by doing our work, we proclaim the truth of Christ until he comes. These are the holy days.