Lent – The most wonderful time of the year?
The very title of the article would have reminded you of Christmas had it not ended with a question mark. Without a doubt, the very words, ‘most wonderful time of the year’ would get you humming that ever-popular song. But on the eve of the Holy season of Lent and with the question mark that I have placed at the end of this title, your mind has now begun to wonder if something is wrong with this writer.
How can Lent even be the most wonderful time of the year? Lent has traditionally been associated with an absence of joy. Prayer, fasting, abstinence and almsgiving are not on an average person’s wish list. To make matters worse, the Church is bathed with the colour purple and there is an ‘in your face’ absence of any external festivity. Yet I insist that this is the most wonderful time of the year.
Let me elaborate. When I travel away from home, the last day of my travel or holiday always seems to make me restless. There is a desire to get to my bed, my choice of food, my routine and my home. This, I am sure, is a common lived experience. Lent is that time when we come home; home to the Church, home to our family, home to our common meal and Master.
While at Christmastime we long to get home, to be with family; Lent too is a time, when having stayed or sadly even strayed away from THE family of God, we get an opportunity to come back to the family of the Church; to be forgiven, to be loved and to heal the heart and soul. What could be more wonderful than that?
Approach this season as it should be, with a sense of joy, with a sense of homecoming. For this is truly the most wonderful time of the year.