We never participated in Lent. I knew nothing about it. I grew up in a committed, Christian home, but Easter focus and celebration began with a Good Friday service...
Hmmmph ... and I marvel that we spend SO much time preparing for Christmas! The decor goes up at least a month in advance, the Christmas music starts the day after Thanksgiving, the shopping starts (for some in the summer!), and we begin a flurry of parties, programs and planning.
But Easter holds FAR more reason to celebrate for us as Christians. If we would contemplate it's world-changing, life-altering, hope-filled power, we might consider switching everything up. Easter would become our biggest holiday! Perhaps it's a gift that it has not become >quite< as commercialized as the aforementioned holiday. Because let's face it... Easter begins with a focus on DEATH. And death doesn't "sell" It's not as sexy as Santa and presents and holiday parties and "White Christmas".
So maybe we can breathe deeply, and being free of the distractions that a secularized distortion of a holy day brings, we can fully submerse ourselves in it. All it's drama. And ugly. And beauty. And mystery. And hope. (the bunny has NO power to compete with this!)
Today is "Ash Wednesday"
Lent begins. Jesus invites.
Jesus invites you. To join Him. To walk these final days before He made His supreme sacrifice. Walk WITH him. It begins by facing our own condition. Seeing that we each deserve to die. Not just die and become non-existent - but die and be forever separated from EVERYTHING good and beautiful, separated from God for eternity.
When we can begin to see our OWN ugly. Our own sin... our true condition, then we can begin the journey to recognize what Jesus really did for us. "Beauty for ashes"
"When we genuinely remember the death we deserve to die, we will be moved to remember the death the Lord in fact did die." - Walter Wangerin Jr.
Maybe Easter is my new favorite.