"The Lenten spring has come. The flower of repentance begins to open."
The Lenten spring certainly has come - at least for the week! It is warm and windy this morning, the air feels like late April and the heavy clouds promise spring rain. Tomorrow, we have been warned, may give us a foot of snow, but today is springtime.
I have been reading through the Byzantine prayerbook and enjoying the Church's obvious enjoyment of the Lenten season. We are constantly reminded that Lent is a time of "joyful sadness" and "bright mourning." Throughout Lent we "fast with joy" with the knowledge that Easter is on it's way, Christ will rise again to save us from our sins. It has been an encouragement to me in these middle weeks of Lent, when the novelty of the fast has passed and only the difficulty remains. It also helps me decide on how to observe celebrations within the season.
Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated his brithday, which took some creativity on our part to keep within the fast, without loosing the "party" spirit. We managed well, I think. I bought purple tulips to decorate the tables and altars, fresh fruit and champagne (fortunately his birthday fell on a day which allowed wine), gifts, cards, and - after careful search of menus - out to dinner. We have our anniversary to celebrate this Lent as well, which will be difficult to plan: it falls on a Monday, a day we can have neither oil nor wine; but we are looking forward to the challenge.