I have always been drawn to the church’s observance of Lent; the 40 days prior to Easter that is usually set aside for prayer and fasting in preparation to Celebrate the hope and resurrection life that we have in Jesus.
I can remember in my teens when I was not a follower of Jesus at all, and my friends and I would have our annual conversation about choosing what to give up for those 6 weeks. Chocolate usually won out, and we would agree to give it up for a time. Just because.
Now that I have come to know Christ and have begun to learn a bit more about the significance of this season of Lent, I realize that these 6 weeks aren’t just for giving something up, nor for trying round 2 of failed attempts at our New Years resolutions. No, this time is set aside to ‘make room’ within ourselves that we might be prepared to be filled with the hope, joy, peace, and presence of our resurrected King.
But if Jesus has already rose again from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God is it really necessary to go through this season of preparation?
As I ponder this question, I think of my sweet little one being knit together in my womb; our miracle baby that is just now the size of an orange and the one we’ve been waiting for, for 5 years. Even though God has answered our prayer and this babe is all cozy and growing within me, we still find ourselves in a season of ‘waiting,’… in a season of ‘preparation’ for their arrival.
I wonder if Lent is a similar kind of waiting. We know that Jesus has rose again, is victorious, sitting at the right hand of God, and will one day restore all things to Himself. And yet like this season of pregnancy – where Gods promise has been answered, and there is life growing in my womb – there is still a sense of waiting for the fulfillment of the JOY and Celebration that is yet to come when this little life that God has made will be born and placed into my arms.
As we ‘give up’ something as an offering before God in this season of Lent, the point is to give Him more room in our hearts. We don’t “give up” something for the sake of giving something up as a test of our will, or as a ‘spiritual’ act. We give up what has taken up space within us that Christ should be filling, and we allow Him to enlarge a sense of our ever growing need for Him in our own lives.
We posture ourselves in the waiting; making more room for Him and expecting to be filled.
…And after our season of waiting – we celebrate.
We celebrate our Lord’s obedience to the Father to love us unto death and we celebrate His resurrection. We celebrate His victory over death and the gift of life to the full NOW and Eternal life with Him forever. We celebrate the way that He made for us to be adopted as children of God.
And after our celebration?
Well, God will continue to invite us to wait… He will continue to invite us to prepare.
For Easter is only a taste of the celebration that is still to come.
We will continue to wait like an expectant mother with anticipation and expectation for that day that will come as He promised – when our resurrected King comes back a second time to put an end to sin and death forever and make all things right again.
What a day that will be.
And until then – He will meet us in our waiting.
He will be our joy here and now, and one day that joy will be complete.
Prepare your hearts sweet friends and make room. You will not be disappointed.
— Jalene Elsa
For Further Reflection:
[ Questions/Scriptures/ & Resources to help you ‘ Make room’ for Jesus in this season of Lent ]
What is an area of your life/mind/heart that you might feel God is inviting you to make “room” for Him in this season?
Have you given up something for Lent (food/caffeine/etc.) that was simply to “give something up” for Lent that really isn’t helping you to make more room for Him in this season of Lent?
If you answered “yes” to the question above – would you be willing to pray and ask Jesus if there is something else in your life that He might want you to lay down for this season to help you draw closer to Him?
1 John 3:1-3
Resource: [ One of my favourite devotional books I have read through Lent: ]