So…Why should my family consider observing Lent?

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Hello everyone, I got an email this morning from the organization Axis.org, I have mentioned them before, with a short, thoughtful “devotional” answering the question of why Lent is important. I thought I’d pass it on! Here it is:

So…Why should my family consider observing Lent?

The short answer? To prepare your hearts to celebrate the Resurrection.

In Christian circles today, Lent is well known. Some dismiss it as a “Catholic” practice, while others choose not to participate because it can feel similar to a New Year’s resolution in which one gives up something “bad” and see how well one can succeed at that for 40 days (which is longer than a New Year’s resolution lasts…amirite?!).

But Lent is not as well known in culture because it hasn’t gotten the attention that Advent and Christmas have. There’s no “magic,” no “holiday spirit” tied to Lent as with the others. And the same is actually true for Easter (though it’s starting to change): Department stores don’t play Easter music, we don’t decorate our homes with Easter lights, and our employers don’t have Easter parties for the whole staff. It doesn’t “feel” a lot different than the rest of year. Yes, we have the Easter bunny, Easter eggs, and other symbols of spring, but overall there are fewer prescribed methods of celebrating. Some of this is good because it gives Christians a blank canvas, rather than muddying our way through the ups and downs of what culture has already established. But it also requires more intentionality.

Lent can be a beneficial spiritual practice for anyone, young and old alike, and there is significance beyond merely swearing off candy or Facebook. Having physical, tangible reminders that point us to deeper spiritual realities and to the grand story we’re part of is important for our spiritual journeys. Liturgies and traditions that involve our minds, hearts, and senses are powerful to shape our imaginations and combat our apathy and forgetfulness.

The same way we need Advent to prepare our hearts for Christmas, all the more do we need Lent to prepare our hearts for Easter, the most significant event in human history. Often Page 1 our preparations for Easter mainly involve buying new clothes and filling our Easter baskets (which is fine, it just doesn’t go far enough.) And even our Lenten fasts don’t always hold deep spiritual significance.

You cannot truly celebrate the end of anything without first starting at the beginning. Before we get to Easter, we need Lent. You cannot truly celebrate the end of anything without first starting at the beginning. Because the way to new life comes…through death.

Be a blessing today,

Dan

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