Taking a walk the other day, we noticed a Christmas tree still standing near a living room window, a sight we noted with a mixture of relief and amusement. We felt relieved, of course, to spot vivid evidence that someone else is an even-bigger procrastinator than we are when it comes to removing yuletide trimmings for another year. And we were amused, too, to see a holiday tree as Lent points us solemnly toward Easter.
But we also wondered, gazing at the remnants of Dec. 25 as another Mardi Gras receded from view, about what seems to be the increasing speed of time as the years roll by. The year’s holidays seem to follow so quickly upon each other. Christmas, New Year’s, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s — they flash into view and fade out of sight as rapidly as billboards spotted from a car window.
Lent is an ideal time, we suppose, to consider more deeply the passing of time. The season is, after all, meant to be an extended reflection upon mortality, the brevity of things. It’s not the most heartening subject, we know, but one that, once confronted, can help us set life’s priorities a bit more clearly.
That’s why Lent can resonate so deeply among Christians and non-Christians, too. Appreciate Lent while you can. Experience tells us that Easter will be here and gone before we know it.