by Sarah Yates
Now that it is Lent, I thought it would be a good time to take down my Advent wreath. When I lifted it from my desk, it left behind a perfect ring of needles. I laughed, snapped a photo to send to my mom, and swept them away. I pulled the first barren twig from the reusable frame, then paused. I carefully placed the wreath back down.
This is Lent. This is my Lent wreath.
No candles, no needles.
Empty candle holders, empty branches.
No light, no life.
For me, Lent is an extension of Good Friday, just as Advent is an extension of Christmas Eve. During Advent, we await God’s birth. We anticipate Jesus’ life, His physical body to walk among us. The promised Messiah is coming to redeem us. During Lent, God is dead. Jesus has not risen; His body sealed in the tomb. The Chosen One has failed.
I reflect on what must have gone through the disciples’ minds that day—these men who dropped everything to follow—their families, homes, traditions, careers, and social standing. They forsook them to follow, and to follow what? A pot-stirrer, a rule breaker, a cryptic pedagogue, a homeless man, a deranged man. One who summoned the powers of God or the Devil, a convicted and condemned blasphemer.
No wonder Peter denied him! Mere ostracism would seem a mercy to these blasphemers-by-association. And it goes beyond humiliation and socio-economic ruin. What must have been their spiritual state? Before, they had nothing in the earthly sense but everything in the spiritual sense. Now they had nothing at all.
And that is the painful—and powerful—thing about Lent: not that there is no hope, but that there was hope and now it’s gone. Stolen. False. Wasted. Vain.