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What’s Up with Lent?

I have to admit, I grew up going to a church which did not do much, if anything at all, to observe the season of Lent. I would hear my friends and classmates, almost all of whom went to either Catholic or Lutheran churches, talk about Lent and giving up chocolate or soda but I never thought to really ask them much about it beyond those basics. In reality, I was just glad my church wasn’t making me give up desert and treats!

In my adult years I have discovered Lent to be a rich season in the life of the Christian church with traditions, including giving up something like chocolate or soda, which have the potential for a uniquely rich faith experience. With a variety of different traditions expressed in a variety of different ways, Lent is about so much more than giving up your favorite treat.

Primarily, the season of Lent is a season of preparing for Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday (which was yesterday!) and goes through Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). It last 40 days if you don’t count the Sundays. Primarily, the traditions and imagery associated with Lent are inspired by the 40 days Jesus spent it the desert wilderness after his baptism. Just as Jesus gave up food and fasted, so do we often fast from our favorite foods for 40 days. Some people also fast from all food on a given day, or specific meals on specific days. And just as Jesus spent the time in prayer so do many people use the season of Lent to be intentional about a particular Bible study or attending special Lenten services. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the desert preparing for his public ministry, so do we spend 40 days preparing our hearts to celebrate the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

As we journey through the season of Lent in the next 6 weeks, we are going to be diving into some of the traditions and practices often associated with Lent. If you happened to order our 2021 Lenten Journey packs for teens and adults, you’ll notice that we will be following along with resource provided in your pack. We also invite you to check out some ideas on our Pinterest page to help make Lent more meaningful for you and your family.


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