Are you learning from Lent this year?
For me, walking through the Christian year is a journey of discovery. I love learning more about the symbolism behind the traditions. As a family, we really enjoyed our Advent Wreath. In Advent, we light more candles as time marches on toward Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. The light grows and darkness recedes as the time for Jesus’ coming draws near. As the weeks pass, the light increases inside the home but outside, the darkness grows as Winter Solstice approaches…when the days grow shorter, we see how we need more light.
For Lent, we have another centerpiece made of seven votive candles, sitting in the shape of a cross. I put this one together after Amy shared that she had a similar centerpiece on her table — I loved the idea! For Lent, the seven candles are all lit at the beginning and the light dims as we draw closer to the Friday of Holy Week when we remember Christ’s crucifixion. When Jesus died, the Light of the World was extinguished. On Easter, we light seven of the candles again to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus.
To be honest, I started the whole thing backwards this year. First, I put the candles on the table. I knew that we would be lighting fewer and fewer as we got closer to Easter, but I didn’t really have many other details. Silly, right? Then I ran across a Lenten devotional by Noel Piper, wife of the well-known pastor, John Piper. Lenten Lights is a series of readings that take you through lighting the candles and meditating on the journey toward Easter. The readings explain the meaning behind the lights dimming and bring scripture to the forefront. Scripture…hmmm, that is where I should have started!
And I was going to tidy the table and arrange things neatly for the picture, ever mindful of Pinterest! But where’s the truth in that? In the same way that kid-scissors, Transformers, and the remains of a quick-lunch crowd my Lenten centerpiece, the messy details of life can encroach upon our observance of Lent. [tweetthis]The messy details of life can encroach upon our observance of Lent. [/tweetthis]
Also: We have rehearsals for a ballet production that infringe on dinner-time devotionals. We’ve been too tired to keep up with our plans to read through all of the Gospels during Lent. I’m fasting on Wednesdays but last week I might have cheated…
Gracie got her braces off that morning and we had to come back a few hours later to get the retainers. So we had to be out all day. I broke down and got a coffee drink at Starbucks with milk in it because we were stuck there, using wifi for online homeschool classes.
In the past, I would have berated myself for failing at Lent. For most of my life, I’ve seen my efforts as successes or failures. Victories or losses. All or nothing. Now I see that all of life is learning. This year, instead aiming to win at Lent, I want to experience it, to grow from it. [tweetthis]This year, instead aiming to win at Lent, I want to experience it.[/tweetthis]
Here is what we’ve been learning from Lent:
- Worship isn’t diminished when the reality of life slips in. In fact, we need to make room for the everyday stuff, when we worship.
- I’m learning from Lent about living a life of worship — Our family has been talking about the importance of kindness. We have been looking our shortcomings in the eye. We are practicing confession in a more intentional way.
How about you? Is Lent making a dent in your heart this year? Does it have an impact on you?