When I think about the prophecy in the Book of Isaiah that “a virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and we will call him Immanuel,” I think about hope.
The Book of Luke gives us a fulfillment of hope when the angel appears before Mary, saying “God is with us,” which is the meaning of “Immanuel.”
Jesus was born to save our sins, and our faith journey brings us to the season of Lent. A season of preparation, we wait for the fulfillment of this hope.
For the past year, the word “quarantine” has been used a lot in our daily lives. However, I would encourage you to think of Lent as a quarantine — 40 days to detach from the world, for reflection, prayer, fasting and a closer walk with Jesus to the cross. Then, the glorious resurrection of Easter.
Mary, too, quarantined after she found out she was carrying God’s son. She detached herself from her past and embraced her new normal. Pregnancy itself is a quarantine as the preparation for new life becomes the mother’s focus.
The more we allow the outside world in, the more we find ourselves distancing from our walk with God. Lent is a time to remember that Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. Hebrews 10:14 says, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Last year during Lent, when the outside world was shutting down, I remember taking long walks and talking to God. Since we were quarantining as a family, some of the walks were with my adult children. As March turned into April and Easter approached, we noticed the presence of God with us, Immanuel.
I remember the silence because it was what drew us to appreciate spring — new colts in the horse pasture, the simple beauty of seeing God’s creations. I found myself called to read more and to begin my day with a devotion. By removing what was distracting, my focus time of prayer and faith journey deepened.
This year, my focus is to continue shutting out what the world is calling me to hear. My choice is to quarantine this Lent.
And what happens after Lent? The Resurrection. When quarantine lifts, may we experience a rebirth of sorts by reengaging more fully with our community. Jesus, too, by his death, burial and resurrection, has made all things new.