Lent is a time for fasting and self-denial. That is something that doesn’t quite spark excitement and enthusiasm in most of our hearts. I’ll be honest, there are times that Lent seems to be more out of obligation than something that I am joyful about entering into, but that is because I’m not focusing my heart on why it is that we practice Lent.
For those of you that aren’t familiar (because I had no idea what Lent was growing up, I didn’t grow up in a church that celebrated it), Lent is the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. And, yes. It is a time for fasting and for self-denial, but it’s not just for the sake of self-denial itself. Lent is a time for the Church to reorient ourselves away from distractions and towards Jesus’ suffering on the cross for our sins in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The goal is not to just give up something to be miserable and miss that thing for the entire 46 days. It is so that each time you crave that caffeine, pass on the sweets, or don’t turn on your TV, you think of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for your sins. It prepares us to celebrate that not only did Jesus take on our sins in His death but that He conquered death and our sin in His resurrection.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul
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