Conquering Winter Blues in Our Faith Life


(Credit: Michael Malm/Truthbook)

After the Christmas season ends in early January, the winter blues tend to set in. And for me, I have felt this “blueness” most in my spiritual life during this time of year. Once I found myself in Ordinary Time — the Church season after Christmas — it was oh so easy to think that the most exciting month of my faith life had ended. I started to feel like I had to wait until next Advent to really celebrate my faith. If that were the case, what a long year it would be!

But that’s not the case at all. When I really thought about the name “Ordinary Time,” I realized just how special it is. Precisely the fact that it is ordinary, and yet that it’s the time when the bulk of Jesus’ public ministry occurs, makes it miraculous. We celebrate most of the Gospels in Mass during Ordinary Time quite simply because it’s the longest Church season. Ordinary Time comprises the weeks between Christmas and Lent, plus the weeks between Easter and the next Advent. The lepers whom Jesus heals, the hungry crowds whom He feeds, the tax collectors and sinners whom He befriends…most of these souls get their stories told during Ordinary Time. Why? Because Jesus’ public ministry was His ordinary work. And what work it was! Not to mention the fact that Jesus spent way more of His earthly life working as a carpenter than He did healing and preaching; his public ministry only filled three of the thirty-three years He spent on earth.

So how does all this Ordinary Time hype apply to our post-Christmas, second semester, midwinter lives? Well, Christ can make every moment of our ordinary lives a moment of grace…if we allow Him to enter into that moment. When we offer our work and rest for Christ, we open up our hearts to receive His grace. If I offer up little sacrifices, like listening to the music my brother wants to listen to (always a tough one) or cleaning up the paper on the classroom floor that is totally not mine, I’ve loved God; and I’ve loved Him in the most Ordinary activities.

As St. Theresa of Calcutta said, and as you’ve probably heard a few or more times in your life, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Not all days are Christmas Day, or Easter Sunday, or your favorite day of the year (shoutout to the first day of school in September!), but we can make the little moments, the ordinary days, our moments of great love.

Anna Sheehan ’21