What does Lent mean to you?

As the calendar turned to March, I was shocked to realize that Ash Wednesday was only three days away. It is not that I forgot it was coming. But so soon?

This revelation caused me to think…every year, we eagerly await Easter — when we can finally celebrate the risen Christ. Signs of spring give us hope that we will make it through the dark days and nights of winter. Earlier in the Christian year, we even count down the days to Christmas when we celebrate Jesus’ birth. Yet, so often, the Lenten season creeps up on us.

Plainly and simply, we want to jump straight from Christmas Day to Easter Sunday so we can have something to celebrate. Consider the world in which we live today. This is not the case.

My daily newsfeed is filled with stories that leave one wondering: “Where is God in the middle of all this?” The tragedy unfolding in Ukraine. Political unrest. Rising inflation. None of these stories are appealing. None of them bring joy. All of them are going to take time to be resolved – if at all – before the celebration can begin. Such is the case with Easter.

Engaging in the journey

The Lenten season prompts us to slow down and intentionally consider our relationship with God. Often, this exercise takes the form of “fasting” as we imitate the sacrifice Christ made for us. Letting go of something, or even picking up something, can be a challenge. It can make 40 days seem like an eternity. It can even be painful. But would you be surprised if I told you the journey was worth it? The emotional and physical challenges that accompany sacrifice often bring about transformation that helps us to be our better selves – the people Christ calls us to be.

So I ask you: “What does Lent mean to you?” Will you rush straight from the manger illuminated by the star to the empty tomb? Or, will you engage in the journey that is laid before us as we near the celebration of the risen Christ? As you contemplate this question, please know that you are not alone.

May your journey be filled with enlightenment that leads to renewal!

In Christ,

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