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.
Last year for Lent, I offered a tour of the hymns. 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.