Anticipating Lent

I love the liturgical calendar. I really do.

But there are certain seasons that need more planning than others. In ministry, Advent and Lent are huge program seasons, which you need to start working on months in advance. Especially in these here modern times, folks need to hear about something so many times in so many different ways for it to sink in…which means you start communicating early…which means you have to know what you’re doing early.

This is the case for mindful eating around the calendar too, in a way. Advent has so many fun feasty moments with so many centuries-old traditions behind them – tiny saints feasts were you make a saffron bun (what up, St. Lucia) or set out chocolates (hi, St. Nick) or begin your Christmas Pudding (stir up Sunday, baby.) I start planning Advent recipes and meal lists in October.

Programmatically, I think Lent is larger than Advent in its intensity. There are more things, and more flavors of things – services, prayer groups, formation, bible study – and then Holy Week with it’s wild up and down emotions and liturgies looms, and then at the end TA-DA Easter rolls in like a Behemoth.

And so, I am grateful today for Lenten fasting.

Because, while my church jobs are very very busy right now preparing for Lent, my mindful eating is barely registering in my to-do-lists…because I know I’m going to have Fast Days, and I already know what those look like for me because I do them every Friday already.

Once Lent begins I will begin my Easter Feast daydreaming…but not yet. I have so much time. I’m really tickled that Lent, where we fast and pray and try to create empty space to prepare for Easter, is creating this space in my whirring brain, space in my usual anticipatory fretting, space in my energy. Anticipating Lent is…easy.

Well, for meal planning anyway.

Say a prayer for your church worker friends. The early Easter date this year means we finished Christmas and jumped straight into Lenten planning, and we are a little overwhelmed with it all.

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