What is Lent? Should our family observe Lent? If you are asking these questions, you probably already know all about Easter. Easter is a time to remember that Jesus died for our sins and conquered death. It’s a time to thank him and celebrate the new life we enjoy when we accept his gift of salvation.
What Is Lent?
Lent is a time set aside to help us prepare our hearts for Easter through prayer, repentance, sharing, and sacrifice (fasting). The Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. When not counting Sundays, this equals 40 days. The 40 days of Lent represent the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).
What is Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent – the forty days of prayer and fasting that represent Jesus’ time in the desert prior to his public ministry. The name Ash Wednesday comes from the practice of placing ashes on the forehead as a sign of his sacrifice.
What is fasting?
Fasting is the sacrifice of something (usually food or drink) for a period of time (a meal, a day, a week) in order to focus more on God. When we try to give up something we enjoy, it can be really hard. But it’s an opportunity to become closer to God, as we pray and rely on Him for strength. Growing closer to God is about more than being strong enough to give something up for him. Many observe Lent by giving up something they enjoy (treats, video games, TV shows) or adding a new habit (a devotion like this one, prayer, or serving others) to change their lives and grow with God. This is how Jesus prepared himself for his biggest test. And it’s a good way for us to grow in faith as well.
Should our family observe lent?
Gather as a family and pray about whether or not you feel led to observe this sacred season. Discuss what you could add or subtract in your daily lives during this time as a way to focus more on God. Ideas for addition might include a family devotion (like this one), an act of service, or a daily practice of gratitude. Ideas for subtraction might include a favorite food, toy, TV show, or electronic device. You can also add or subtract something different on a weekly basis throughout Lent. It’s not about how much you add or give up. It’s about the willingness to alter your life in an effort to grow with God.
Here are a few other ideas to engage your family in the Lent/Easter season:
- Share a Family Passover Meal
- Invite kids to journey through the traditional Scriptural Way of the Cross.
- Listen to this Lent/Easter season Podcast with 5-minute audio devotions you can do on the go!
- Focus on God’s love as you discuss Easter with your littlest ones. Use a book like God Loves You, Little One to remind your child how beloved he/she is!
However, you feel led to participate in the Lenten season, remember it is an opportunity to experience God’s great love in fresh, new ways. I pray you’ll feel the power of Jesus at work in your lives and the growth that comes with being connected to him!