I’ve been thinking lately about the traditional church calendar. The liturgical calendar is divided into seasons, celebrations, and commemorations that include Advent, Christmas, and Easter. I love the rhythms of it (particularly the season of Advent with its focus on preparing for and celebrating Jesus’ arrival!) and the clarity and focus it gives to our days. But this season we are currently in—after the Christmas celebrations have ended and before Lent begins—is simply known as “Ordinary Time.” 

Despite the uninspiring name given to these days, it is worth considering… What does our “ordinary time” look like as followers of Jesus? How are we living day to day? Are we still acutely aware of the arrival of the baby in the manger — or Christ on the cross — when we are not celebrating Christmas or Easter?

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord,

you must continue to follow him.

Let your roots grow down into him,

and let your lives be built on him. 

Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught,

and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT)

As I came across these words that Paul wrote to the Colossians, I was reminded … We should not be dependent on the festivities and focus of the Christian holidays to grow our faith. We must continue to follow him. We must continue to dig deep and tend our roots. We must continue to press forward and build our lives on him. 

I love the imagery here of both roots growing DOWN and lives building UP.

The first image is of a tree. Its roots are constantly growing down. They never stop. There is never “enough” growth to call it quits. We must always, like roots, be seeking nutrients in the soil so that we can continue to grow.

This is not something glamorous or exciting that everyone sees happening. This growth happens below the surface. This is the quiet work of seeking the Lord, reading His word, and resting in prayer so that our souls are nourished consistently. This ongoing work, even in the ordinary days, is what feeds us, brings us closer to God, and gives us a strong foundation.

And we are also called to build up.  Specifically, to build up on him. This is what happens above the surface. On our firm foundation, we must build in a way that others can see the work of Jesus in us.

This is the visible part of our growth. But instead of thinking of it as a monument built for others to just see, imagine it is a purposeful dwelling where Jesus can work in us and through us. We build our lives on him in a way that welcomes and reaches out to others. We add brick by brick as we serve through our work, love our neighbors and care for our family and friends. 

And as we settle into these practices… digging down deep to be nourished through our roots, and growing upward and outward in our active faith, we will come out of the winters of ordinary days bearing fruit… fruit that will overflow in its proper season and lead to thankfulness. 

I pray that during this “ordinary time”—as perhaps the newness of the year is wearing off, as we become overwhelmed by the mundane days, as we might struggle to set our eyes on Him when there are no bright and shiny ornaments adorning the season —that we will look to our extraordinary God, and continue to follow him by growing our roots down deep and building our lives on Him.

Journaling is a powerful tool for personal reflection and growth. We believe by adding prompts to our articles it can help guide you in your  thoughts and self-discovery. The prompts in this article are specifically chosen to encourage reflection on how to thrive in ordinary time with a deep relationship with Jesus. We invite you to grab your Grit & Virtue Journal, your favorite beverage, and choose the prompts below that resonate with you the most. Take time to journal through these prompts, diving deep into your thoughts and feelings as you grow in your faith.

  • What does the phrase “ordinary time” mean to you?
  • How does Colossians 2:6-7 impact the way you view “ordinary time”?
  • Consider the image of tree roots growing down for nourishment. How does this image reflect your spiritual growth?
  • What does it mean to build your life on Jesus?
  • In what ways can you serve others and show the work of Jesus in your life?
  • How can you cultivate a strong foundation in your faith during “ordinary time”?
  • Reflect on the idea of bearing fruit. How does your faith lead to thankfulness?
  • What steps can you take to set your eyes on God during the “mundane” days of “ordinary time”?
  • How can you continue to follow Jesus and grow your roots deep in your faith during “ordinary time”?