Having made my first New Year's resolution on January 8, it is fitting that I add my second today.
At first glance, resolving to rediscover feasting sounds about as painful as resolving to read more books, but bear with me a moment.
There's a lot of wisdom in the church liturgical year, with its fasts (e.g. Advent and Lent), its feasts (the grandest of which are, of course, Christmas and Easter), and its large swaths of so-called Ordinary Time. For most of our modern, American society, however, it is Christmas Every Day. To paraphrase one of my favorite lines from The Incredibles, If every day is special, no day is.
The material and dietary excess to which we have pushed our festive occasions is the natural consequence of possessions and everyday meals that rival the greatest feasts of our ancestors. In order to rediscover feasting without surfeit, we must first rediscover fasting, and more importantly, normality. Without Ordinary Time, there can be no special times.
So, how am I going to accomplish this resolution? I don't even know how I'm going to begin it, other than making it public as a spur to action. Stay tuned—and feel free to share your suggestions and experiences.
It's appropriate today, also, to look back at New Year's Resolution #1: Read More Books, and ask, How am I doing?
Better than I ever imagined. I've read eight books so far this year, and we're not even halfway through the second month. I didn't keep a record last year, but as an educated guess, based on the books I reviewed, with a handful of non-reviewed books thrown in, I'd say it took me at least half of last year to get to that total.
It's true that I don't expect to be able to keep up this pace: Two of this year's books were read during vacation time. Vacation is more often recreation than rest, and thus not conducive to reading, but in this case I had a few days with a good bit of reading time in them. What's more, February saw the confluence of cold, dreary, wet weather with four days of an involuntary computer fast, which made curling up next to the heater with a book, a cup of tea, and my Kevin blanket seem like a reasonable use of time. Plus I let my Ancestry.com subscription lapse in January when they doubled the price, which had a depressing effect on time spent doing genealogy research.Nonetheless, although those factors certainly helped, I think most important was the application of "what gets measured gets done." More significantly, perhaps, is that what gets measured in a way visible to the public eye gets done. I don't want it to be obvious that I'm ignoring my resolution! But don't let that panic you; I'm not about to publish all my goals (and progress, or lack thereof) here!