February is here and with it comes some special days. Valentine’s Day with its focus on love is just around the corner. Then comes President’s Day when we celebrate the first president of our country, George Washington, who was born on February 22, 1732, and Abraham Lincoln, our president during the Civil War, who was born February 12th, 1809. In our family we have lots of February birthdays, and we do love to celebrate birthdays. This year we will be celebrating a new family birthday. Angelina will be six but has only been in our family a short time. She is a new great niece who God gave us to love and cherish.
Also in February comes Mardi Gras! That is the big party day that comes on Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. When we lived in New orleans, everything closed down for the great party of balls, costumes, and parades. There is noting else quite like it. But from there, the month takes on a more somber tone as we focus on Lent and Christ’s journey to the cross.
Every year we take at good hard look at ourselves during Lent. Many people give up something that they enjoy as a sacrifice. People give up chocolate and soda. In some ways, those token sacrifices seem shallow as we move forward toward Good Friday, the day we commemorate Christ’s atoning sacrifice for us. We give up some small thing, yet Christ gave up his life. Good Friday comes with grief and sadness, but just ahead is Easter.
I see the whole Lenten season like the jazz funerals in New Orleans. They start with the musicians playing sad, slow songs as they march toward the cemetery carrying the body of a family member or friend. But they leave the graveside rejoicing with loud and happy music as they act out the scenario of Christ’s journey to the cross, his death and burial, and finally great joy as they celebrate Christ’s resurrection and ours as believers as well.
May we use this new month that God has given us to grow in faith. And it's Leap Year so we have an extra day to do just that!
Director of Christian Education