This year, the month of March is almost entirely consumed by the season of Lent, which ends on March 30, the day before Easter. One of the ways in which the season of Lent serves as a microcosm of the Christian life is the challenge to remain in the present. Jesus seemed to know this challenge well, advising in Matthew 6:34 that we should “not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

In Lent, the temptation is not to look ahead with worry, but to look ahead to the celebration of Easter. However, we have a lot of Lent left to travel before we get there. In the same way that Jesus cautioned the disciples not to worry about the days ahead, we need not jump ahead to celebrating and miss the value of the present. For no matter how hard we try, we cannot live this life in any moment other than the present.

Each day, each hour, each moment is a gift. When we spend too much time focused on moments that are not the present, the present moments silently slip by. (That is not to say that there is not value in reflecting on the past to learn nor in planning for the future.) For the month of March, for what remains in Lent, let’s focus on each present moment – engaging our chosen Lenten practices, pressing forward toward the cross, one moment at a time.