Whether Lent is a cherished tradition of yours or is something you knew little about until now, there’s a lot we can learn by practicing it to enrich our faith. Lent is a season of spiritual preparation for the gift of Jesus' sacrifice. Jesus Himself spent forty days in the wilderness preparing for the good work His Father had planned.
I know I definitely need to slow down to really appreciate the gravity of Jesus’ suffering. Too many Easters have flown by without due attention on my part.
Lent starts with Ash Wednesday. But why the ashes? As this video explains, “it’s a sign of repentance, humility and renouncing pride.” Even if this symbol isn’t part of your tradition, all of us need discipline and intentionality to deepen our commitment to Christ. For the season of Lent, millions of Christians of varied backgrounds choose to go without something they enjoy. In this way, they identify more closely with Jesus who gave up so much for them.
My friend is giving up Netflix. Another is giving up coffee (ouch!). For me it’s going to be my Facebook newsfeed.
As modeled by Jesus, sacrifice also means carrying burdens and taking on tasks we don’t really like. So last year my colleague decided she would “leave no dirty dishes in the sink at the end of the day.”
Another big part of lent is almsgiving. That could mean taking what you’d spend at Starbucks and giving it to someone in need. Or it could mean increasing the percentage of your tithe. If money is tight you could offer the gift of your time to encourage or help someone out.
Prayer is the third major part of lent. The time we would have spent on our usual indulgences or pleasures is then spent relying on God, taking our needs and burdens to Him and reflecting on His sacrifice.
These next 40 days could become some of the best you’ve had in your spiritual journey. God wants to reveal Himself to you more profoundly. So what do you say? Will you give Lent a try?