Whether you practice Lent or not, it’s helpful to have an understanding of what it is — especially if kids ask about it. This year, the Lenten season begins on Wednesday, March 5 and ends forty days later on Thursday, April 17.
To be forthright, I’ve never actually purposefully participated in Lent. I have seen friend’s posts on social media sites stating what they’ve given up for Lent. Usually, it is food related: chocolate, sodas, or bread. Sometimes, I’ve seen them give up “time suckers” like reality TV, social media, or the Internet.
As I started thinking about writing this post, I really wanted to better understand what Lent was all about. I knew it lasted forty days and involved giving up something, but I wasn’t sure what the whole point was. Here are a few facts that I learned:
Lent starts on Ash Wednesday.
The forty day count doesn’t include Sundays.
The purpose of Lent is to reflect on Christ.
These facts led me to wonder, why do people give up things like chocolate or french fries for Lent? My first thought would be that every time one had a craving for his Lenten sacrifice he would think about Christ’s sacrifice. After some study, I also found that it is to follow Jesus’ example of fasting in the desert for forty days (see Matthew 4:1-11).
I’m not sure where I land on the tradition of the Lenten season. Certainly, I have no problem with people giving up items that will help them prepare their hearts to meet more closely with Jesus. At the same time, it’s hard for me to think of any items that would come even nearly close to the sacrifice Christ Himself made on my behalf. I believe that it is a matter of the heart.
Whether you participate in Lent as a part of your church’s traditions or you want to participate on your own accord, it’s important to be doing it because you want to commune with Christ. Participating in traditions for traditions’ sake will bring you no closer to the Savior than if you never give anything up at all.
Easter is a special time that we, as Christians, reflect on and thank Jesus for His sacrifice. Obviously, it isn’t the only day of the year that we should do this. Don’t you think it would be good to have more Lent in your life? Choose to live in awe and thanksgiving for Jesus everyday so that Christ’s sacrifice grows more meaningful, sacrificial, and beautiful.
To learn more about Lent, read Crucified with Christ: A Worship Theme for Lent in LifeWay.com.
Jeff Land loves Life! That’s pretty great, because his job here at LifeWay is the Team Leader for Bible Studies for Life: Kids. Jeff loves his life which is so blessed by his amazing wife, Abbey, and their four sons, Reed, Nash, Will, and Tuck. A natural encourager and fun-lover, look for Jeff’s posts about teacher appreciation and game ideas. When not serving at work, Jeff serves 2nd graders at his church, First Baptist Church, Joelton, TN.