Written by Erin Franson / April 2017
As kids, we’re always asked what our favorite things are. What’s your favorite animal? What’s your favorite color? Your favorite song? And even, who’s your best friend or your favorite teacher in school?
I never thought about this until recently, but the idea of favorites may have impacted my way of thinking a lot more than I realized. It’s because of this way of thinking, I always tried to rack my brain as a kid to pick my favorite holiday. Everyone has one, shouldn’t I? And what kid’s favorite holiday isn’t Christmas? I remember distinct times in grade school where this would come up out on the playground, in the hallway, or wherever – and I always reached for Christmas, but never really thought about why. Even as a kid brought up with a very religious background, I liked Christmas because it meant presents. Sadly, at that point in my life, my thought process never went a whole lot deeper than that. But I was always left with this pitted feeling in my gut. It was a childish enthusiasm around the holiday, but I knew in my soul that I needed to value it because of one Gift in particular. The fact that Christmas, a holiday centered around the coming of our Savior, was reduced by myself and the world around me to a holiday that meant material happiness was something that made me sad without knowing the reason why.
Over the past several years, though, I’ve been able to develop my own thoughts and opinions on what goes into making something my “favorite”. Now, as a believer, I understand that each religious holiday is beautiful and great for different reasons. Each holds a significance and a power over us as Christians.
If you were to twist my arm, though and I had to pick a time of the church year that truly leaves me feeling fulfilled in my Christian life, it would be Lent.
The message of our Savior from sin enduring all pain and suffering to justify or redeem a sinful, cruel, and hateful world leaves me in tears most Wednesday nights this time of year.
Being reminded every year of what Jesus went through should prompt us to stop and examine ourselves, and how we can better emulate His love and silent compassion for a world that so loudly wanted Him gone.
The state of the world today is a scary one, and the immense amount of love that it took to undergo pain for all the sins already committed, being committed, and the ones that would be committed, is staggering to say the least. I look around at all the sin in the world these days, and can’t help but thank God for what he promises us in Isaiah 25 (“He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.”)
Growing up going to a Christian day school, and then Immanuel, surrounded by kids my age of the same faith was something I took for granted while it was right there. Now being grown and out in the real world, I realize how important that time was. As adults, there is something nice about taking a break after a long day just to spend time in the word, and I’m not always the best about setting that time aside on my own. It’s exactly the thing we need to hear after a hard day, and big shocker, God knew that. Knowing we would need this rest, he tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”. He tells us to come to Him, and we will find rest. The Bible tells us Jesus frequently sought this out for himself and his disciples by way of the Garden of Gethsemane.
Being reminded every year of what Jesus went through should prompt us to stop and examine ourselves, and how we can better emulate His love and silent compassion for a world that so loudly wanted Him gone. “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord” – Lamentations 3:40
We can be grateful that in a world of big sinning, we have an even bigger Savior that absolves us from those sins. What a blessing, that in a world of distorted ideas of love and relationships, we can confidently say our favorite teacher is also our best friend, best example, and Savior.