Lent is a Christian tradition. It’s the period of time in the church that leads to Easter.
The traditional purpose of Lent is to prepare oneself through prayer, penance, almsgiving and self-denial for the Holy Week ending with Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Lent is described as being 40 days long. However, those 40 days do not include Sundays, and Lent doesn’t stop on Sunday. The 40 days represent the time that Jesus spent in the desert, enduring the temptations of Satan.
To me, Lent is a time to repent. It’s the two fold motion of turning away from sin and turning to the Gospel. To believe in the Gospel means to enter into a new promise with a higher being.
When entering into a new covenant, a person is letting go of their former, sinful self. A covenant is more than a handshake or a contract. A covenant is a total and utter exchange of oneself with God.
As I prepare myself for Lent and examine my sins, I realize that God holds nothing back for us. Do we hold ourselves back from Him? Unless we are willing to surrender all, we can’t receive all that He has to give us.
I want to receive all that the Lord has to offer. Being imperfect, I make it an even bigger priority to give myself to the Lord through prayer and other traditions during Lent.
Many people know of the traditions of giving up a significant item, or fasting during Lent.
We give up things for Lent as a way of identifying ourselves with Christ’s time of voluntary self-deprivation during his 40 days in the desert. However, this isn’t a mandatory act to attain a relationship with Christ.
Children often give up items such as candy or pop. As we get older and understand our faith better, people often give time to Christ by giving up video games or Facebook or by adding in daily prayers.
Through deprivation, Jesus prepared himself to begin his ministry, and self-deprivation is how Christians prepare themselves to celebrate Easter, and to rededicate themselves to living out the life of love, forgiveness and justice that Jesus calls us to.
Fasts include not eating meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during the season of Lent.
Ash Wednesday is the day that marks the beginning of Lent. This year Ash Wednesday falls on March 9. Church services are offered on this day. In a Catholic Mass, the priest will spread ashes on your forehead making a cross while saying “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
Lent doesn’t necessarily pertain to one religious group such as Catholicism. Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians recognize Lent too.
People who are agnostic or athiest are able to celebrate Lent, and do, just maybe not in total completeness like some religions do. Lent a good chance to give up bad habits such as smoking or cussing, or even biting your nails.
As long as you have a goal in mind, you can say that you are following the Lenten season. Your religion is up to you, but if you are interested in Lent and don’t know where to start, quitting an act or beginning a better one is a great place to start.
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