It is hard to believe that January is already gone and we are looking at the beginning of Lent. Ash Wednesday this year falls on February 17 and marks the beginning of this important season of the Christian year. A time of repentance and penitence, Lent leads us through 40 days of reflection as we head towards Holy Week and ultimately Easter.
When Jesus turned towards Jerusalem to begin his final journey to the Holy City to give His life for us, I wonder how many memories flooded His mind about His experiences with His disciples. His earthly ministry was coming to a head and yet His love was for His disciples and His concern was not for Himself, but for us: how we would handle the cross, how we would deal with His passion and sacrifice, how we would respond to His selfless act of love.
This year as we go through Lent, we have much to be thankful for and much to pray about. As we set aside time for Lenten devotionals, I want to invite you to count your blessings. As part of your reflection time, I want you to journal daily something you are thankful for.
Try to be specific. Avoid general statements such as “Family,” “Health” or “Finances.” Name your blessings fully by putting details with your statement of thanksgiving each day. For example, one of mine will be a thanksgiving to God for providing us with a Sienna minivan as a new family vehicle after months of searching and praying.
As you chronicle your gratitude, my hope is that you will realize how blessed you are and how much God has been taking care of you during these trying times. Remember to be thankful for the intangible things that have no price or earthly value, but which have eternal significance. Things like time with loved ones and wisdom gained through prayer. Remember to count the times God did not give you what you wanted but provided what you needed.
Before you start requesting more of the Lord, pause to express your thanksgiving for all He has already done … specially what He did for us in and through Jesus. All roads during Lent lead to Jerusalem, to the cross, to the tomb and finally to the empty grave … and the big revelation of the season is that we are already blessed because Jesus already did it all for us. May His grace continue to be sufficient for us every day.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Miguel A. Vélez