The temperatures have slowly begun to rise... we've even had a few days which can be described as 'mild'! The sun has been shining intermittently, and gifted us the most glorious sunset on Saturday. Buds are beginning to bud, flowers slowly flowering... birds seem to be singing a little bit more cheerily... and the days are noticeably lengthening and becoming lighter. Yes, at last, after winter dark and bitter coldness, spring is springing forth!
The Old English word for spring is lencten: literally lengthen, to describe the gradual increase in daylight. It is also, very wisely, the word from which we get Lent. It reminds us that Lent - despite its austerities - is not a time for darkness and gloom; rather, it is our springtime with God. It's a time for new life and growth, for opening up that which has been tightly shut, for blossoming: for emerging from darkness and basking in God's warmth and light; for turning towards the Sun of Justice, source of all light and life.
Like nature, we too can respond to the invitation to look towards him and be radiant (Ps 34.6). Not always easy when I'd much rather just eat a chocolate digestive (or two...), but it's in the craving for chocolate that I am reminded of the One for whom I really hunger - ultimately, the only One who can really satisfy.
Happy Lent everyone - may it truly be a blessed springtime for us all!