Wednesday, February 13, 2013's not just in your belly button!

Lent-no it's not a typo.  Lint is in your belly button or dryer but Lent is in your soul.  Lent begins today-Ash Wednesday.

As a kid, I remember lots of holidays but mostly the biggies.  You know the ones that involved candy (Halloween, Easter, Valentine's Day) or gifts (Christmas or birthdays).  I was raised going to church every Sunday-I think we had our own pew at the First United Methodist Church up on the hill in Weatherford, Oklahoma and your bottom better be in it every Sunday unless you were dead or dying!  But somehow I missed that there was a liturgical calendar full or rich religious seasons that were just waiting to be explored.  Here are a few-in no particular order:

Pentecost-is a time of my favorite color-RED!!  It is symbolic of the Holy Spirit descending.  I asked our faithful Padre to sum up Pentecost and this is what he sent, "50 days after Easter...pente = 50...the fulfilment of the promise, holy spirit."

Epiphany-O Come Let Us Adore Him--also known as Kings Day when the magi came bearing gifts to baby Jesus.  A few years ago, there was an episode of Dora the Explorer where she made Kings Day hot chocolate.  This recipe has become a favorite in our house, it is a little more labor intensive than the instant package because it requires grating the chocolate and heating milk!  But the end result is so yummy!!!  Some religions and cultures do not exchange Christmas gifts until Kings Day.

Advent-the season of anticipating the arrival of Jesus.  Back on Kingsway Drive, we had an advent wreath each year.  I loved this season because I was the youngest and usually got to light the candles.  Now days, kids have stuffed animals with pockets, calendars and other means of counting down the 24 days leading to Christmas.  We had the advent wreath and each week one brand new candle was lit-the anticipation of lighting that candle was HUGE!  Each candle has a significant meaning in the Christmas story.  I used to think this was my favorite season but growing up has changed me a bit.  Now I find myself longing for the time and the self sacrifice that we experience during...Lent

Lent lasts for 40 days.  I remember when Blake (our padre) was deployed for 40 weeks--before he left and upon his return he spoke of the significance of 40.  Not only in the bible but in life.  We were all a product of a pregnancy with an expected gestation of 40 weeks.  Now just how long did it rain on poor Noah?  40 days.  How long was Jesus in the wilderness?  40 days.  How long did Israel eat manna?  40 years.  Moses was with God on the mount for how long?  You guessed it, 40 days!  It seems to me that this number 40 which we get to go through every year should be significant.  We should put it at a place of prominence in our lives and remember exactly what we are heading for...we are heading for death, resurrection, and eternal life.

Since Anna was a small girl, we have encouraged her to "give something up" for the season of Lent to remind her of what Jesus sacrificed for her.  It is a tradition we have carried on in our family; Melissa and Jessica are always eager to give up something.  Generally, it's been Dr. Pepper, chocolate or ice cream.  But this year I want them to dig a little deeper.  I want them to actually make a sacrifice not just give something up willy-nilly that they will simply replace with another junk item.  I want them to understand that there are so many sacrifices that have been made for them-not just by Jesus but by so many in their lives.  Yesterday, a link came across my Facebook wall, 20 weird ideas for Lent and I loved it!!  It was exactly what I was looking for to encourage my girls to search deeper this Lent season.  I have chosen to blend several of these ideas into my own personal Lent journey.  Would you like to join me? 

I will:
  • Park at the back of the parking lot
  • Get to know my neighbors-every 5 days (8 times) I will bake something and deliver to a neighbor
  • Stop complaining or being negative
  • Every day take a picture of something I am grateful for.  At the end of the month, I'll print and create a collage for a wall in my home 
The thing is, whether you are christian or not it doesn't really matter, you could probably use a little Lent in your life.  Why?   Because you are crazy blessed and someone-somewhere-somehow has made a sacrifice that made you the person you are today!  So I would challenge you over the next 40 days  to make some sacrifices in your life as a remembrance of someone who cared enough for you!!(To ensure your Lent finishes on Easter Sunday,  you only count Monday-Saturday, Sundays are days of celebration.)