Some of Washington, D.C.’s biggest snow falls have occurred late in the winter in February. I for one will never forget waking up to the President’s Day snowfall years ago, not even able to find the car under the mounds of glistening white. The snow was so deep it muffled all the sound; it was so quiet, so pristine and so powerful in its abundance that it was truly breathtaking. However, now that the warmer winds have tickled my cheek and sunny skies have nudged some blossoms open and enticed some feathered friends to return, I am hoping the milder temperatures and snow-free days will continue. But I know that life isn’t predictable.
Today is Ash Wednesday—a special day on the church calendar. It’s the first day of Lent, the season that walks Christians through Christ’s final days. Every year as I walk toward the cross again, I delight in the joyous procession into Jerusalem and then find myself quickly sobered by the betrayal and crucifixion. A lot like February—one day Hosannas and cheering crowds (or daffodils, robins, and warm breezes), the next day the exchange of silver for a life, and the long, painful walk to the Savior’s calling, (like the chilling, late winter snow)—it is unpredictable and powerful.
The truth is, however, whether the warmer weather has come to stay, or the snow is still waiting to surprise us this year, spring will eventually come. Winter will be banished for another year, and the Washington, D.C. area will be an amazing canvas of cherry blossoms, dogwoods, redbuds, and beautiful flowers of every hue. Spring will be resurrected! And that is the beautiful thing about Lent, at the end of the painful road, the story ends with the most famous resurrection of all. I love Lent’s story, it is the one that rewrote my life almost 36 years ago. It is the one that continues to carry me through winter’s darkest days. Lent’s story . . . the hope of resurrection . . . the promise of spring!