Last year during Lent I came across the term “Bright Sadness” to describe the season. This perfectly oxymoronic and paradoxical phrase was coined in Eastern Orthodox circles (the Greek translation could also be “joyful mourning” or “affliction that leads to joy”) and has been resting in the back of my brain ever since I first read it: a season of Bright Sadness.
This phrase is as enigmatic to me as the path I follow during Lent. When I think about Lent, my initial reaction could be characterized as apathetic. A time of sacrifice, temptation, and struggle. Hearing the TV remote call my name and remind me of the ease of snuggling up and zoning out as I attempt to do a devotional is not enjoyable.
Lent reminds me I have fallen short. My primary concern is my own comfort, happiness, and satiety. I live in denial that I need saving as I like to think I can save myself. Lent prompts a sense of sorrow in me, yet as a result of Lent I am also given freedom and joy as I cast aside my narcissism and self-reliance and focus on the joy of following Christ and recognizing that God sent Jesus precisely to save.
Lent is a season of excitement, of anticipation, and, most of all, hope. The sacrifice, temptation, struggle, and, yes, sadness I experience is tinged with light. The sacrifice is not a heavy black cloud weighing on me. My struggle has meaning. My journey, a destination. My sacrifice, a purpose. All leading to that bright light radiating from the empty tomb.
Katie McRoberts, Editor-in-Chief