Don’t you love the simplicity of January? The Christmas decorations are back in the attic. The glitter, tinsel and scraps of gift wrap have been swept up and thrown away. The refrigerator and pantry have been cleared of Christmas leftovers and filled with healthier options. Even the view from the window says that the world needs to be quiet, simple, and still. When I was younger I didn’t enjoy that cold, leafless view but now I see it with a different perspective.
I think God established the seasons of this world for an eternal purpose. He made this world out of nothingness and brought it life. The newness of spring leads to the warmth of summer and the growth of things planted. The heat of summer gives way to the cool breezes of autumn. Fall brings brilliant colors and the harvest of all that was grown. We celebrate the holiday season and the birth of Christ with a rush of activity and then the world grows cold, still and lifeless once again. January, February and March provide the perfect chance to be still and trust God’s promises for the future.
Christmas is over, but Easter is coming. Things in nature appear to be “dead” but we know that springtime will come. God created this world to remind us that his promises are sure. The appearance of death is really just the promise of new life. That is the story of the cross.
Jim writes the Lenten devotional for our ministry each year. This year’s devotional, Transformed: How stories of the cross are changing the world tells the stories of men and women who were changed forever by the cross. Some of the stories are expected, while others are not. Have you ever thought about how the cross affected Caiaphas or Pontius Pilate? I hope you enjoyed the Advent book during the holiday season and I hope that you will order the Lenten devotional, or download it for free as well.
We are taking orders for the next two weeks so that we can print the correct number of books. We send them to our donors as our gift of thanks, but often people want to order extra copies to give to family and friends. We are careful to print only what is necessary, so please place your order before January 19 at midnight.
The Lenten season comes early this year. Ash Wednesday is February 18th, just four days after Valentine’s Day. I hope one of ways you will spend the quiet, still days of the winter is with the daily Lenten devotionals. The cross of Calvary changed the world that first Easter and is still changing the world today.
I hope when spring arrives and the world starts taking on new life, all of us will be able to share a story of how the cross is changing us as well. It seems strange to think of Easter so soon after Christmas, but then again, January is a perfect time to remember and trust that God’s promises are certain.