Today is the start of the new school year in 2024 in our area, a return to everyday routines after the Christmas break for schoolchildren and their families. Many retail and other workers were back at the grindstone last week, but here we are with ‘normal service’ resumed for most families.
For many, this is a daunting and sobering thought, with more than two full months of winter ahead and no excitement of Christmas to allay the cold and darkness of this season. Depression can easily set in as spring still seems so far away and the sparkle of Christmas with its lights, fun and glitz already a distant memory.
I received a gift at Christmas from my German friend: a key ring crafted into the word ‘Alltagsheldin’. Everyday heroine. I like that.
I’m well aware that we like glamour and sparkle more than the everyday and the mundane. But life is mainly lived in the everyday and the mundane, in the ‘Alltags’ of life, the ‘every day’, the days filled with routine, repetition and monotony. The days when we have to deal with washing. drying amd folding laundry, shopping, cooking and cleaning, doing the school run, organising the household, and all that before we even get on to the topic of work! Life in its ordinary routines can seem overwhelming, a relentless ‘to do’ list that simply repeats the next day until we are worn out. There feels little that is heroic about ironing school uniform yet again or realising the fridge is once more empty and breakfast must be a scratch meal again.
I gaze at my shiny new keyring and smile. My friend thinks I’m an everyday heroine. We all like the excitement and glamour of superhero films with characters flying around to save the world. We fail to see the heroic nature of everyday service: the faithfulness, perseverance and love which form the foundation of most people’s lives.
So today, I salute all the ‘Alltagshelden’ out there – heroes faithfully chivvying children to school, heroes doggedly going to work to provide for their families, heroes serving in shops or tackling yet another basketful of laundry. Don’t forget the Christmas message in the bleak months of winter. Jesus is here with us, God with us, ‘Immanuel’, in our everyday lives. Heroes are born and live and work in the reality of ordinariness, but God with us transforms the mundane into the miraculous. He is there even in our everyday.