Wow – it’s the end of January. Here in Seattle the days are lengthening and I am starting to plant seeds. Spring may not be in the air but it is certainly in my mind. So is Lent and Easter. Ash Wednesday is coming fast. Lent begins February 22nd. As well as that Black History Month (February) is almost on us, followed in March by Women’s history month. This is a busy season of celebrations and commemorations – Brigid of Ireland, Candlemas and Imbolc are rapidly approaching. For those that are unfamiliar with it, Imbolc is a well known Celtic tradition stemming from Neolithic Ireland and Scotland. It celebrates the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Imbolc and Candlemas February 2nd are a celebration of light and the first spark of spring.
Over the weekend I had fun creating an array of St. Brigid crosses as preparation for candlemas and St Brigid’s feast day which I talk about in my Mediation Monday: Imbolc, St Brigid and Candlemas. All the instructions you need for this simple craft are in the post, as is information on the celebrations of February 1st and 2nd.
For Orthodox Christians next Sunday is also the beginning of Triodion, which shares its name with the liturgical book containing the hymns and services for the period from now until Holy Saturday. It begins with the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee and moves through progressive Sundays highlighting the story of the Prodigal Son, Last Judgement and forgiveness. For more information check out Ascetic Life of Motherhood. I love the suggestion that we need to take the weeks before Lent to prepare our hearts and minds for the season. It is such an important time in the celebration of our faith and we need to give it our full attention now.
What are you planning to do for Lent? On Godspacelight we have updated our resource lists, or you might like to start by checking out this list of Lenten prayers posted over the years. You might also like to revisit our last year’s Lenten retreat Finding Beauty in the Ashes of Lent. This retreat and the practices we suggested impacted me so much that they will form the foundations for my practices this year too. You might like to check out our Lenten devotionals and free downloads in the Godspacelight store as well. Also save the date for this year’s Lenten retreat – Preparing for the Garden Walk of Holy Week. This will be a quiet, contemplative retreat, though there will be time for creativity as well. The retreat will be on Saturday, March 25th.
Getting ready for Black History month is much harder for me than the preparation for Lent. The recent horrific death of Tyre Nichols and the many injustices that black people still face on a daily basis here in the U.S. overwhelms me. My heart aches constantly for all people of color in this country as well as for the many around the world who face injustice because of their color or ethnicity. Our resource list on Racial Reconciliation, though fairly comprehensive, still needs updating so if you have suggestions please let me know. My go to people for resources on racial reconciliation are Lisa Sharon Harper and Brenda Salter McNeill, two amazing women of color who help keep me informed and struggling with these issues.
I am also extremely concerned about the impact of climate change on our world. The recent deluge in Auckland, NZ is but one of many that has inundated our planet in the last few weeks. We pray for all who have suffered from these horrendous floods. It challenges me to consider how else I might need to change my lifestyle to reduce my impact on the earth. You might like to meditate on this garden liturgy as you too consider what you could do.
Many blessings on you as you navigate the week ahead.
Lent is getting closer, and now is a great time to prepare for the upcoming season. Check out our Lent and Easter resource lists for prayers, creative ways to celebrate as a family, and more! More info on our resource page: Lent & Easter or find resources in our shop.