Welcome to February, the month where we begin to lose our fascination with cold weather and begin looking at seed catalogs and vacation options. February is also the month of Valentine’s Day which, for the first time that I can remember it happening, falls on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. A word to the wise: Do not get the idea that this lets you off the hook for surprising your sweetheart with flowers and candy. Instead, you will be able to further demonstrate your deep love and affection for each other with ashes on your foreheads. Imagine the witness you will be when you go out to dinner later!
Lent is for the spirit what breaking up the ground is for a garden. Lent gives us the opportunity to prepare our hearts to remember the gifts of Holy Week and Easter. Remembering our Lord’s journey to the cross and to resurrection enables us to share God’s love with people who are suffering with shame and doubt. The journey to Golgotha, and through the tomb to the resurrection, removes every doubt whether God knows our pain and has suffered as we do. Indeed, God is with us in every matter.
Years of little more than egg hunts and bunnies has dulled the Easter message of God’s love for creation. As we enter the season of Lent this year, let us ask God to grow a new message of hope in us. Participate in a Bible study, spend time reading devotional materials, share what God has done and is doing in your life with a trusted group of friends. In this way, remember and rehearse the love of God so that you will be able to share it when someone asks you about Easter. And, above all else, pray that God will enable you to sense the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you are directed to those who need to hear the message of God’s love for them.
Easter comes at a beautiful time of the year. Let’s get ready for it by preparing our lives to be beautiful expressions of God’s love throughout this year.
Grace and peace,