Psalm 126:1–6 ‘Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”’ (v2)

A Jewish friend blamed what he observed as stress and anxiety as a national characteristic of Britain on a lack of national celebrations. Christmas, when most people overspend and overindulge, was our annual, national release; twelve months of parties squeezed into one week. He questioned why this festival was buried beneath a secularised binge of gifts, food and drink with no Christian distinctives? He explained that the Jewish calendar was filled with festivals. His point? Such regular celebrations created a healthy rhythm in a stressful world and were essential to the fullness of life. 

Historically the Church’s calendar was filled with different events. This is the reason why the Church year starts with Advent and why liturgical churches have different colours for each liturgical season. God separated night from day to introduce sleep. There are times for planting and seasons for harvesting. 

Key moments when life’s regular rhythms are deliberately interrupted so that we pause and celebrate God’s actions on earth. It would do society good with its ever-increasing hurry to get nowhere, where every hour must be accounted for and one day becomes indistinguishable from the next, that we deliberately think about how to introduce some significant variations to our life rhythm built from the pattern Scripture gives us. 

Why not fast once a week? Even Keto enthusiasts recognise its benefits for health. Whilst Lent, rather than serving as a convenient reminder to embrace the discipline of slimming, becomes a reminder that we are to audit the year behind us in preparation for celebrating the resurrection and welcoming Christ again.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Lev. 25:8–13; Ezra 6:13–22; Matt. 7:13–29; Mark 1:9–28

AN ACTION TO TAKE: How do you regulate your friendship with God throughout the year? How do you avoid living in two worlds, the secular and the spiritual?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, may I interrupt my year to remember Your gracious acts and celebrate them with family and friends. Amen.’

Photo by Sam te Kiefte on Unsplash
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.