Friday, February 19, 2010


So we are now a few days into the season of Lent -- a time I have been looking forward to for weeks. Considering that Lent a.) begins in February, my least favorite month, and b.) is partially about giving up stuff that I like, which I'm not good at, I thought it was odd that I was eager to enter this season.

But there are things I've come to really love about Lent, not the least of which is the opportunity to continue orienting our home life around the Church calendar. Our kids look forward each year to our big pancake dinner (this year featured apple-walnut pancakes) on Shrove Tuesday, and making the paper prayer chain that hangs by the dining room throughout the season. We love being able to "bookend" this season with celebrations, culminating on Easter, that High Holy Day of the year.

And I also like the idea of having a season set apart for living differently. I like seeing how God ordained various recurring feasts, fasts, and other special weeks and days in the Old Testament, with the apparent purpose of having the Israelites remember, reset or refresh. Those types of times are becoming more and more important to me. The idea of keeping a New Year's Resolution from now until forever is way too daunting. But the idea of adjusting my behavior temporarily, for a specific time, is much more do-able for me.

This year as Pete and I talked about what we wanted to do for Lent, he suggested that we think of it not just as a time to "give up" something, but also a time to "put on" things. It's been good for me to think this way. As we give up certain foods or behaviors that have becoming too over-consuming for us, it gives us a chance to turn our Hunger to the One who can actually satisfy.

The cool thing about Lent, too, is that it's 46 days long. I've heard that it takes a full month of adopting a new behavior before it becomes a full-fledged habit in your life. So, maybe, hopefully?, by shifting our focus for this temporary season, some of the growth/change will stick around even after the season is over. I'm getting a kick out of that: If I had said I wanted to adopt a new habit forevermore, I would have quit by the 3rd day. But if I say I'm only going to do it for 46 days, there is a much greater chance that it could be a habit forevermore!

Anyway, it's a temporary season, full of hope, repentance, and, ideally, hunger for our Savior. So that's why I like it.

But speaking of temporary, here is a great quote I read yesterday in a book by one of my favorite authors, Calvin Miller:

"Ash Wednesday prefaces the Easter season with the suggestion that we are temporary. Easter concludes the season with the reminder that "temporary" is a word missing from God's vocabulary." --From "The Christ of Easter: Readings for the Season of Resurrection"

No comments:

Post a Comment