"Ceremonial may be interpreted as a spiritual obeisance to the created beauty of the world." So writes Abbie Graham in the Foreword to her Ceremonials of Common Days. In this succinct yet surprisingly profound work, Graham demonstrates this same "obeisance to beauty" in her own artful writing on the special celebrations, festivities, and traditions accompanying the four seasons. Looking not with the modern eye (which views such things as little more than random, culturally produced rituals) but instead, dusting off and polishing such seemingly insignificant ceremonies to a renewed luster, Graham highlights their vibrantly wondrous and organic connection with our experience of nature, the seasons, and ultimately, God Himself.
This gem of a book encourages us to pause in wonder at the simple pleasures and passing moments that help to make up our everyday lives: writing letters, taking walks, morning coffee; how a rainy day interrupts our breakneck lives, so we can turn its slower pace to such soul-sustaining things as reading a book, sharing tea with a friend, paying mind to the miracle of spring radishes, or crisp new writing paper inviting the touch of our creative pen. Originally published in 1922, this forgotten treasure is a timely, welcome nostrum to refresh and fortify us amid the dizzying distractions of our postmodern lives. May it wash the dust of routine and oppressive interruptions alike from the windowpanes of our twenty-first-century souls, so we can stand again in awe of the freely-bestowed blessing of each passing day.