Happy Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday to everyone.
What funnier way to start Lent, with its somber purple and lifeless floral arrangements, than to do it on Valentine's Day with all the color and decadence. Even crazier is that Easter arrives on April Fool's Day. Just enough to make you wonder a little. Is this a joke?
Fortunately for us, it's not. We start Lent with a day of fasting and ashes to remind us where we come from. We are reminded that we have nothing unless God has given it to us. For all of our self-reliance and self-importance, the food we eat is available thanks to the rain sent from heaven, the fertile soil in the ground, and the space on earth for it to grow, whether plant or animal.
We are reminded that sometimes it takes us doing without something to realize the value of what we have in the first place.
Isn't that what is going to happen with that chocolate you can't have today? How much more appealing is it now that you can't have it? I'm pretty sure it will be the focus of all of your attention. And mine. And everyone in my family.
Fortunately, we have a technicality for those of you who are giving it up for Lent. Sundays don't count. You have a free pass. Use it wisely and don't brag. There are some around us who still think that's cheating.
So, Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Ash Wednesday. Enjoy the gift you have just been given.
Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of my new book Walking Through Holy Week. Order your copy here to make it a great Lent!