As a child, we prepared for Easter by getting a new pastel dress (and a hat if I was feeling extra fancy). Our family would identify where we were attending sunrise service followed by a pancake breakfast cooked by the men. My mom and her sisters would determine who was bringing what dishes for Easter dinner after church.
It was an early-to-rise 24 hours full of Resurrection celebration and I loved it.
In my 30s I began to understand Lent, a holiday I had known to be Catholic. A period of time when my handful of Catholic friends gave up things like chewing gum and soda and meat on Fridays. As I did more exploring on my own, I discovered it's more, so much more than that.
From the Oxford Dictionary:
In the Christian Church the period preceding Easter, which is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ's fasting in the wilderness.
Think Advent - for Easter. Both reveal a longing in us. Advent can be about gifts and candles, while Lent takes on a little more serious note; giving up and considering the darkness. The thing that delights me about each one - the way they point me to God. His birth. His death and resurrection. They make the days on my calendar about God. We could all use a little more of that.
A few years ago, I read poetry from Luci Shaw's book, Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation, for Lent. It wasn't complicated. Just a new thing for 40 days that led me to the cross again and again.
Here's a portion of her poem, "Royalty."
He was a plain man
and learned no Latin...
Dust sandaled his feet.
He wore purple only once
and that was an irony.
For Lent this year, I'm doing a tour of the hymns. Forty stories about hymns emailed to my readers for 40 days. This series on hymns goes nicely with my plan. I'm cutting way back on my social media (leaning toward two hours each day; one in the morning and one in the evening). My daughter and I will receive ashes on Ash Wednesday. Our Holy Week will have an extra service or two.
Forty days of preparing for Easter morning. I'm looking forward to it.