Wednesday, March 6th is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. The ashes reminds up that we are only on earth a short time so we need to do good deeds whenever we can.
Lent is a time we set aside to spiritually prepare for Good Friday and Easter, just like advent is time to prepare for Christmas Day. Life gets crazy. We have important things we focus on such as school and family and friends. We often forget to focus on God’s love through all of those other things. Lent is a time to purposefully focus on our relationship with God and Jesus. You will often hear people asking what are you going to give up for Lent. No you can’t give up your sibling or your vegetables. My dearest son has offered to give up both. You could give up fighting with your sibling though - just a thought. For me, I like the concept of what positive thing will I add to my life instead of what negative thing am I going to give up. For those of you thinking whew, no need to give up fighting with my sibling, you can still choose to be more loving towards your sibling.
Some believe that Jesus suffered for 40 days in the desert and therefore we should suffer by giving up something we love for 40 days too. Others say Jesus gave up his life for us on Good Friday, so we should give up something important to us to honor him. Others chose to focus on Jesus was preparing himself and his disciples. He was praying and having some quite time to focus on his relationship with his Father. Lent gives us the opportunity to take some time every day to think about God. If you chose to give something up, you can thank God that you usually get to have or experience that thing you gave up. Lots of adults choose to give up things like chocolate or socializing on the computer.
I don’t know of many children who choose to give up chocolate or sweets. I’m fine with that. I’d rather my children add a more Christ-like activity to their life for 40 days. Maybe even continue it beyond Lent. What can you do for the 40 days of lent? Whatever it is, remind yourself why you are doing it throughout the Lenten season. And no, it’s not to earn chocolate on Easter. You are doing the activity to create some time and space to feel closer to God.
Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter states “Lent is the season in which we ought to be surprised by joy. Our self-sacrifices serve no purpose unless, by laying aside this or that desire, we are able to focus on our heart’s deepest longing: unity with Christ. In Him-- in His suffering and death, His resurrection and triumph, we find our truest joy.” Please let that be what lent is about for you. Being surprised by joy. God already believes we have a close relationship its up to us to recognize all the ways God is in our lives. Take this time and find your joy, recognize your relationship with God.
Interesting fact - There are actually 46 days between Ash Wednesday 2/14/18 and Easter Sunday 4/1/18. Why do we say its 40 days? They don’t count Sundays. There are 6 Sundays during lent which we don’t count.
Prayer: Thank you for the gift of this Lenten season. We thank you for your love. During these 40 days, please help us to be more aware of all that you do for us and the closeness we have to You. Please help us to act more loving and Christ-like towards others.