'Tis The Season
Scripture: Joel 2:1-2,12-13
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Each Christmas season as we sing, "...'Tis the season to be jolly...", our anticipation, of the Lord's birth heightens. Many of us start the party well before Jesus' actual birthday. So much so, by the time the holiday arrives, we are in "overdrive".
Today is Ash Wednesday, a day which marks a new season in the Christian calendar. To our surprise, we are invited to engage in some enthusiasm. With the trumpets and our voices, we are to call for the attention of the nations, we are to "sound the alarm" and herald an important moment for the world. Lent is here! Now make some noise!!! Shout loud and don't hold back. We are invited to bring our excitement; however, this season is intended to be different. There is no cooing over the baby Jesus during this season, we now must begin our journey to the Cross...
During Christmas, maybe we received new clothing, maybe we ate large feasts in merriment, maybe we sang joyful songs, maybe we laughed... Now with the same urgency, we are called to tear those clothes in half, put on old dirty clothes, to fast, to sing songs of sorrow and start crying... Lent is the season to expose those dark, hidden places within our souls to the Lord. We are called to reveal our brokeness and sinfulness to God and to lament, just as God is lamenting the sinfulness of our world.
We are called to connect with the gloom and dread of existence in a world without a loving and gracious God. We are called to wipe those smiles off our faces and sober up. This season is very important, this season is serious, yes, we need to approach it with enthusiasm.
Today is Ash Wednesday and our foreheads will be smudged with ashes to symbolize our depraved and solemn states. While this day can be painful, own it. We will also receive gifts during this season; however, something different is required of us.
Suggested practices for the Lenten season:
- Fast from one bit of technology and spend more time with your family.
- Adopt a grandparent in your community.
- Get involved in a social justice campaign.
- Be intentional about befriending someone who is very different from you.
- Go on a silent retreat for a day.
- Continue reading the Journey to Cross reflections on a daily basis. :)