But, oh, the permissive excess of Christmas in comparison to Easter's brief nod leaves something for the Christian home to reevaluate. After all, shouldn't we be spending more time--not less--preparing for that which makes our eternal life possible?
Our very life.
All depends on His death and His resurrection.
When I reflect on my childhood memories, Lent was a strange word, associated with Catholics (a questionable denomination to my Baptist upbringing). Easter meant a frilly, new dress, and resounding "special" music, and chilly sunrise services at dawn, and egg hunts, daffodils, and an extravagant meal with my family.
All well and fine. However, I want this season to carry so much more for my kids. I want them to understand that Lent is more than just ashes and giving up. Ash Wednesday begins our six-week trek to the Cross, the only place--by the Only One--who could pull us up from the ashes and restore us to something beautiful.
So many people think that something beautiful reveals itself from within--"we're all basically good people who can earn our way to heaven." Is that right? The glorious afterlife comes only because of the glorious sacrifice. Without it, we are dust. Nothing. And nothing within us will change that.
"It is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth..." -- Pope Benedict XVI
Furthermore, we need to revisit our broken human state if we are to grasp the overwhelming gift of the cross--our death, our deserved punishment, our grace. We needed Him, the perfect, sinless Son of God to sacrifice Himself if we are ever to be who we are intended to be. The prison cell forever barred our freedom; Jesus was the key.