The season of Lent is, to my mind, the most unusual season of all. Advent, Christmas, & Epiphany are filled with expectation, warmth, and wonder. Easter is full of joy. The Day of Pentecost is filled with excitement. Ordinary time (the time between Pentecost Sunday and Advent) describes much of my life—ordinary.
But Lent is different; it’s a paradox. On the one hand it is a quieter, more subdued season. The music is softer, the words are measured, the faces are reflective, the ashes linger. On the other hand, the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter is the most intense Christian time of all as we explore deep questions like:
- What does it mean to be me?
- What does God want me to do with my life?
- How do I become a better person?
Lent is the time to find our direction – we’re all on a path – where are we headed? Lent gives us some guideposts. As we journey in faith, we may want to give up something for Lent – maybe a bad habit or something which hinders progress on the road. Or we may decide to do something helpful during Lent. Rather than give something up we could actually take on a good habit or project. Some will use Lent as time of fasting or penitence. Regardless of what we do, Lent is an excellent time to discover what makes us come alive.