O Blessed Spring
I recently read a little book called Light Boxes, a fantastical story about a small town experiencing a perpetual February. Tired of the winter that never ends, the townspeople conspire against February. A group known as the “Solution” tries all kinds of remedies to push back winter and all its devastating effects on the community and its way of life.
It occurred to me that the winter ethos is such that it often feels as though it will never end. Massive snowing occurred this February, and that’s something of an anomaly for Seattle. Winter always comes to an end, but we certainly may feel it is perpetual. I wonder if the little book I read was trying to say that in spite of all our resistance to winter, it’s beyond our control. The best thing to do is let it run its course.
I enjoy winter, but at some point I find myself longing for spring. Hints of springtime pop up this time of the year, when the days begin to lengthen and the flower bulbs begin to bud. Winter yields to spring and the promise that new life will emerge from death.
It is no mistake that the Christian year corresponds to the cycles, seasons and rhythms of the natural world. In the darkest part of winter, we light Advent candles and plead for the light of Christ to come. At Christmas and Epiphany, we say the darkness will not dispel the light, and now we look forward to Lent. The word for Lent comes from “the lengthening of days.” Lent is springtime.
The great thing about springtime is seeing new life burst out from all corners of creation. And it happens, too, in the Christian community. Lent is a time to experience and witness new birth and new growth. Adults and children find themselves preparing for Baptism at Easter. Many others are preparing to affirm their baptism, and all of us are called to return to the bath of baptism and the great promise that the God who provides perpetual welcome is also at work changing our lives. The way of life begun at the bath continues a lifelong pattern of dying and rising again.
Springtime carries such great promise. You can be assured of my prayers for you this Lent. May Christ shower us again with light and life.