What is Lent and Why You Should Add it to Your Holiday Celebrations

MORE THAN CHRISTMAS AND EASTER

I was raised Church of Christ so we stuck to the main holidays, Christmas and Easter. But even in those holidays, there was debate—should we be celebrating Christmas as Jesus’ birth if we don’t know the exact day? Should we celebrate Easter as his resurrection if we aren’t sure which Sunday it occurred on?

As I explore my faith and religion, I am learning so much about the traditions of the first Christians and early Jewish people. In doing so, I can’t see the point of leaving huge events uncelebrated because of these details. I don’t need to know whether God created the world in seven human-days or whether his days were actually longer for me to enjoy the fact that that I have a creator. In fact, the more I learn about the history of Christianity, I feel the need to add more holidays to our family calendar.

I have a Jewish friend who has taught me about Hanukkah, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah, as well as Catholic friends and their holidays like Ash Wednesday and Holy Week. As I discover more Christian traditions and holidays, I’ve found they are a great way to teach my children about our own beliefs.

CAN YOU CELEBRATE LENT IF YOU’RE NOT CATHOLIC?

The entire Bible is filled with even more festivals and celebrations and special days of remembrance. Some examples are Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Festival of Tabernacles, Day of Atonement, and the Festival of Trumpets. I believe that any opportunity to reflect on the goodness of God and what he’s done for us is praised.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible acknowledges this practice after God rescued the Israelites from Egypt:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

DEUTERONOMY 6:5-9

So I’m not a Catholic, but they have this awesome tradition called Lent. Lent literally means “lengthen” because it is observed in the spring when the days are longer. It’s a 40 day lead up to Easter starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday.

Lent is a season of reflection and is meant to be a time to reflect on Jesus’ ministry. These 40 days represent Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness after his baptism. During this time he was tested in deprivation and self-discipline. To celebrate Lent, many people will choose something to deprive themselves of for 40 days as a type of fasting.

40 DAYS OF LENT BIBLE STUDY

Fasting isn’t just about not being able to do something, but replacing it with something that glorifies God. Whatever you choose, whether it’s a break from social media or no dessert after dinner, use that time to reflect on:

  1. Who you are in Christ
  2. Who God says he is
  3. What Jesus has done for us

To make this easier on you, I have created a 40 day Lent reading plan that starts with Jesus’ baptism and ends with his resurrection. Use each Sunday as a catch up day if you are behind in your reading or maybe spend some extra time praying after you read each passage during “Holy Week” (The last week leading up to Easter).

Print your 40 Day Lent Study here or click the image to download:

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Want to get some more info on the timeline of events in the Old Testament before diving into the New Testament? Print my Old Testament Timeline or work your way through my entire Bible Series.

Talk soon!

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