I love Lent!
I think I get more excited for it then for Christmas. Weird, I know.
Lent is a countdown towards Easter Sunday. 40 plus days until the best day of the year. The day Jesus Christ conquered sin, death and the devil and rose from the grave. It’s the reason for having Christmas. Interestingly enough, you can’t have Christmas without Easter and Easter without Christmas.
Traditionally Lent is the 40 days before Easter beginning on Ash Wednesday. Sundays are not counted in the days as they are seen as mini-Easter celebrations. It is a time of reflection and prayer. The faith community gathers together to for a simple meal (usually soup and sandwiches) and a time of prayer and Scripture readings. The colors on the altar are muted to reflect the tone of the season. Songs are not as ‘peppy’ but reflective.
So, if the season is reflective and maybe a little morose why would I love it so much?
That is a good question. What I love about Lent is the intentional focus to grow closer to Jesus Christ. To slow down, take away distractions and simplify. To get back to basics and focus on the heart of the matter.
To get back to Jesus alone.
A common practice during the season of Lent is to give something up. The concept is to give up an item or activity that is special to yourself in order to begin to understand the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf. It is a small sacrifice on our behalf but it does help us become more aware of the depth of Christ’s love for all of humanity.
Another different practice during Lent is to begin a new discipline during the season of Lent. Similar to a New Year’s Resolution but with greater spiritual impact. It’s purpose is to help the person grow closer in his walk with the Lord.
Either practice is meant not to be an obligation but a helpful tool to the believer. Whether one gives something up or takes up something new it is about removing obstacles that hinder the faith journey of a disciple.
As Ash Wednesday approaches in two days what is an area in your faith journey you would like to grow in? What might be stopping you from growing?
Is there a spiritual discipline you would like to pick up? Daily journaling of lessons God is teaching you? A deeper prayer life? More regular serving of others?
This Week’s Challenge:
- Take time the next couple of days to pray and listen to the Holy Spirit to hear what God is calling you to do this upcoming Lenten season. What is an area God is challenging you to trust Him more in or grow deeper in your faith?
- Make a plan to how you will give up something or begin something during Lent. Be specific. Be realistic. Remember it’s purpose – to grow closer to Jesus Christ – so don’t be hard on yourself if you mess up. You can always start again. That’s the beauty of grace, everyone gets second chances.