Lent and love…not concepts that we often think of together, but they’ve been coming together more closely for me lately. Maybe it is simply that I am a little more aware during this Lenten season and the connection seems true and right.
The other day I was holding Madeleine and she was giggling and laughing, and I would laugh….and she would laugh in response. Her eyes lit up and she laughed with them as well as her little chortling laugh-out-loud delight. It is impossible to convey the emotions of parents in these moments. There was delight that welled up within me just in seeing her delight.
There is love that is awakened in us as parents that is unlike anything else. And it is returned in our infants especially. They delight in us.
Anna, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote about her experience as a new mom and this awareness. I really liked this:
They say that becoming a parent changes everything, but what I think those people missed when they said that was the fact that being a parent changes you profoundly. It doesn’t just shake up your life (it does) or cause you realize that sleep is over-rated (it’s not, but you really can function on far less than you think!), but if you listen to your baby, they will explain love to you in ways that you haven’t known since you were a baby.
She’s right. It disarms you. Even if you are not a parent…if you are around little ones you can see that they love unabashedly and without any fear. It is wonderful.
What does this have to do with Lent? Well, it has to do with what we are to be thinking on.
Jesus went to the desert to face temptations and to be tested as He entered His ministry. He already knew He was taking the first steps to the cross. He knew where the road was going to lead and He knew what was required of Him to bring about our salvation.
But He loved us.
Unabashedly and without fear and without insecurity and without all the baggage we bring.
I know that our attempts at Lenten fasting may seem silly. Some seem sober and respectable. Still…it is just us, attempting to do something to awaken our spiritual eyes to look differently at the way we live and who we are. That is all on our side…we’re trying to do something. And that smacks against what this journey of Jesus is all about….His grace for us.
So, today I’m dwelling on this meeting of Lent and Love. I have already said that I do not think giving up anything will impress God and shouldn’t be done with that intent. But, I do think that He delights in our desire to please Him and to know Him.
Facebook. Thin Mint cookies. TV. Soda. Luxuries. Meat.
Giggle. Laugh. Bat your eyes. Respond to your Father with delight and desire to engage and know. And I believe He delights in us.
“1 The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Because Lent is about preparing ourselves to experience Good Friday and Easter…about thinking on Jesus’ journey in the wilderness…it is sober. I don’t want to make it less than what it should be. Still, I think at it’s core it is about love. Huffington Post is doing a series on Lent, and this quotation from one of the first articles was part of this thinking for me:
“Lent is not 40 days of misery to be forgotten with the first sip of that illicit latte. It’s our preparation for the Resurrection; our chance to grow spiritually before we once again proclaim that the love of Christ overcame even death.”
Don’t be distracted by the details and miss the whole picture. Delight in God in this season. Even in sobriety and with sacrifice…delight that it is the love of Christ that overcame death. For God so loved the world….