Oh I know, what joy in Lent? Isn't it supposed to be the opposite? Joy isn't allowed just like the "A" word we sing before the Gospel.
Yet, I tell myself, JOY is always part of our Lenten journey. Our lives are like Lent, we are constantly experiencing dryness in our lives, not just during Lent, we experience sorrows, sadness and yearnings; not just during Lent. And yet we as Christians are asked, no, we are commanded to be Joyful because WE HAVE THE RESURRECTION!! Christ died and ROSE for us!!
So it makes sense to have joy in Lent because we know what's coming. It's like cleaning up your house for a party or when you know a family member is coming home. I truly dislike mopping the floors, cleaning the carpet, dusting especially up on those shelves in my kitchen where I keep nick-nacks. But you know the dust bunnies are up there and must be swept away at least once a year.
So it is with Lent. We must get rid of the dust bunnies in our souls! Lent helps us clean ourselves up, tidy up our souls for the Great Arisen Jesus!
When my kids were little, we used to cut out different colored hearts from construction paper before Ash Wednesday, then every day during Lent we all had to do something special for one another. It might be take over someone's chores that day, help them with homework, clean our room without a reminder from Mom, or smile at someone we don't really like much. Then after supper that good deed was written on a heart and put into a basket on the kitchen table.
On Easter Saturday we would dump out all the hearts and with the help of some Scotch tape, hang up our hearts around the picture of Jesus that hangs above the kitchen table. It was a beautiful reminder of what we had worked on during Lent - the company we were expecting in experiencing the Risen Christ.
So yes, there is Joy in our Lenten journey! We are preparing ourselves for company!