When it comes to decorating a room or passing an exam or even enjoying your wedding day, it’s all down to the preparation. Get the preparation right and everything is easier. Miss out on the preparation and, when the event comes around, things rarely go to plan and can sometimes be disastrous!
Right now we are in the season of LENT – the period between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and for Christians Lent is a long season of preparation as we look forward to celebrating Easter.
But these preparations are rather different. There’s nothing to plan or organise and there won’t be a delay or disaster, if the preparations are good enough. But if we don’t get our preparations right, Easter will be more of a damp squib than the most joyful day of the year.
For most people, Christmas is the biggest deal. But for Christians, Easter is far more important. Christmas was the beginning – and a baby-sized one at that – but Easter was the end of the story; the day when God’s plans came together, when the promises of God came to pass and when the solution to the deepest need of people, like you and me, was finally made available to all people everywhere, free of charge! I’m talking of course about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
You see the Bible says that our greatest need is for forgiveness. None of us live as we should. None of us treat even our friends and family as we should and none of us treat God as we should. And since God is just and holy he can’t just let us off the hook and simply forget those ’sins’ ever happened. If there is to be justice a price must be paid.
But on that first Easter Jesus took the punishment we deserve. Jesus stood in for us – standing, and dying, where we deserved to be. But the cross was not a defeat. On that first Easter day Jesus rose from the dead to prove forgiveness was available to all who ask and to prove that those who trust in Jesus will have eternal life.
I hope you think that is good news! But you may be wondering what that has to do with Lent as a time of preparation…
The preparation comes as we take a good look at ourselves and realise just how far we fall short of God’s standards and how much we need a saviour. It also comes as we think more deeply about Jesus’ death on the cross and what it cost him to win our forgiveness.
Mulling over those things helps us realise just how much we do mess up, how deep God’s love for us really is and what an amazing and glorious thing God did for us on that first Easter. And with those preparations in place, the celebrations of Easter are so much sweeter!
So enjoy your Lent – but make sure you are prepared for Easter!