Lent. We tend to think of Advent as a time of joyful anticipation and Lent as a dismal period of sackcloth and ashes.
We are preparing to celebrate THE most joyful event in the history of humanity, the death and resurrection of our Saviour. Lent is the most joyful, light-filled season for me because I empty myself so that I might die and rise with Christ in triumphant glory. The darkness of my sin, the sin of others or the sin of the world is not a malignant force as much as it is simply the absence of light. The light of just one candle banishes darkness.
“Through Him, all things were made; without Him, nothing was made that has
been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light
shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
In Italy, there is a beautiful expression which refers to the birthing of a child:
which means, “to give to the light.”
I have been pregnant during Advent and given birth right on Christmas Eve and I have been pregnant all of Lent and given birth right on Easter Morning. Both pregnancies and births were a time ” to give to the light”, to give new life to Christ. In a sense, we are all pregnant during Advent and Lent every year and we all give birth to Christ within us more fully every Christmas and every Easter morning.
A few years ago, I spent 4 days a week with one of my daughters who was in premature, silent labour at 32 weeks gestation. Her husband worked 10 hour days to get Friday off. She was housebound and could not stand for longer than 10 minutes at a time. Since she was running around as an Early Childhood Educator in her job, this rest allowed her son to stay put in the womb for another 3 weeks or so.
It felt like she was on the Cross but it was a time of excitement, joy, and light. I was waiting once again for a human baby and waiting for Christ to be born anew within my heart.