Thursday, March 4, 2010


Lent is the season - 40ish days - leading up to Easter. Easter is my favorite holiday of the year, and Lent is all about preparing for that celebration.

I have been thinking about Lent lately - about the whole idea of "giving something up" for the season of Lent. I didn't grow up in the church, and when I started going, it wasn't to a church with a tradition of Lenten celebrations like that. So I am still making my way through what I think about that, and why to do it. 

How do you celebrate Lent?


  1. I didn't grow up doing it either. Steve and I have been talking about what we should give up. I have been thinking of giving up T.V. I have drastically cut back : ) The hard thing is to give up something that you really like so that you feel exactly, or close to, what Jesus was feeling. It's hard to find that all important thing. I guess we should pick something and go from there.

    One question though, if you give it up for Lent and give it up for the 40ish days, is it ok to take it back after Lent season?

  2. Good thoughts, Tami. I wonder about some of the same things. I think I'll blog more about some of those questions.

  3. I've enjoyed reading your thoughts and questions regarding Lent. It's been an interesting topic of discussion among staff and some congregants at our fellowship. I have participated in the practice of sacrificing something during the Lenten season (and I am this year), but I haven't always done it. I try to, as I do in fasting, let the Lord prompt me about when I should and should not participate. Especially as the practice is unique to our faith tradition, I don't observe this season as a measure of routine or obligation, but I try to allow God to motivate my heart on this.

    Honestly I struggled just reading the word "celebrate" in your first post on the subject. I don't know that I "celebrate" Lent, but then I gave pause to consider why I wouldn't consider it a celebration. Is it because it is hard to sacrifice something for a period of time to focus on something else? Is it because I don't consider the period of time approaching Resurrection Day as "celebratory"? I haven't yet come to a clear conclusion on that point, except to say that I don't believe we can fully immerse ourselves in the joy that resurrection brings if we haven't "died" to something.

    A friend recently read me an excerpt from Walter Wangerin's book on Lent, Reliving the Passion. His point was the same... we may experience elation, happiness, excitement and a host of other genuine emotions over the remembrance of the Resurrection of our Lord, but fullness of joy is known when that which was dead has conquered death and emerged as living. There is surprise in that joy.

    When I do observe Lent, I am intentional about choosing something that will do at least two things: 1) cause me to focus even more time on the great sacrifice of Christ and 2) cause me to feel the cost of sacrifice. I believe that even the tiniest things to which we have become emotionally or personally attached can be the element we surrender that elicits these experiences, but I believe ultimately it's the motivation of our heart that determines the outcome of our Lenten season.

    I do pray that, as we journey with the story of Christ into the peak of His passion, we encounter anew the realness of his suffering, the awareness he had in the midst of it, and the willingness with which he laid aside his life to fulfill the will of the Father. He surrendered himself to death, so that we might have life. And hallelujah, death could not defeat him, for HE IS RISEN!


  4. Interesting thoughts on the word "celebrate," Joy. I think "observe" would have worked, too, for what I intended, but "celebrate" bears additional thought.