Lent … in January?

It might boggle the mind a bit to know the holiday season I’m already looking forward to this year is Lent.

I know, I know. Isn’t Lent the season for Mardi Gras, which has never made sense to me, or Fat Tuesday which is also an odd occasion.  And then your calendar marks Ash Wednesday and you see people on the streets or even on TV with smudge marks on their foreheads.

Well. Lent has become this holiday that has suddenly bloomed in me, as if before it were just a bud, tightly wrapped and green. But now—I’m writing about it in January!

I suppose if I had to put that bloom in words, I’d tell you that Lent gets me excited because of its intense Christ-focus—and even more, its Cross-focus. I don’t even attend what would be called a “high church.” But in my love for tradition and remembrance and pulling what is beautiful from history, I have rediscovered a richness in the church calendar. I love that after the meditations of Christmas and the mystery of “God with us” I can keep my mind and body tethered to walking with God as I then ruminate on the pinnacle event that changed everything: the Cross.

This time last year found my head buried in the Old Testament. I was authoring a new resource for families that I’m excited to unveil to you. It combs through some of our well-loved Old Testament Bible stories, looking for clues that point to the Messiah. After decades of studying the Bible, I still found my eyes wide with awe at the genius of God and His orchestration through the story of history—pointing the world to history’s culmination in the person of Jesus Christ. It’s like the lyrics of “What Child is This?” which I was only singing a couple of weeks ago: “This, this is Christ the King!”

And isn’t that what I want this year to be about? If Christ were to be King of my year, captivating and determining my thoughts from one season to the next, what would that look like?

It’s certainly more exciting than any Mardi Gras parade.

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