I didn’t know anything about a church calendar growing up. I know we had a calendar but it was pretty much just filled with potlucks and picnics (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). Honestly, I heard more about the football season than I did the Easter season. I certainly didn’t hear a thing about the Lenten season. Lent, in my eyes, was gathered pocket fuzz. Later I learned there was a difference between lint and Lent.

Wednesday of this week was the start of the Lenten season. What is Lent? I found this explanation to be helpful:

On the Christian calendar, Lent (from Latin, meaning “fortieth”) is the forty days beginning on Ash Wednesday and leading up to Easter Sunday. Sundays themselves are not counted in these forty days, as they are generally set aside as days of renewal and celebration (“mini-Easters” of sorts).

The number forty carries great biblical significance based on: the forty days of rain Noah and his family endured in the flood, the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness, Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness, the forty days Jesus spent on the earth after his resurrection, and so much more. Forty days has been used by God to represent a period of trial, testing, and preparation.

Likewise, Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate the death (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter Sunday) of Jesus. It is this very preparation and repentance – aimed at grasping the intense significance of the crucifixion – that gives us a deep and powerful longing for the resurrection, the joy of Easter.

Lent is a journey to the cross: meditating on our sin and weakness, looking to Jesus as our perfect example and substitute, and being heightened in our worship of his victory over Satan, sin, and death. On the cross, Jesus took our place to appease God’s righteous anger toward our sin and rebellion. He was separated from God so that we could experience union with God. He was crushed by God so that we could be adopted by God. He was raised with God so that we too might be raised with God. The drama of how this unfolded is the story of Lent.

The journey of Lent is to immerse ourselves in this grand story so that it might increase our appreciation of Easter and love for Jesus. May we mourn the darkness in our hearts and rejoice in the light of God who came into the world to save us!

Anticipating Good Friday and Easter is a good thing. I’ve attached a devotional guide that may help direct our focus to Christ and his finished work during this season. It is from Providence Church in Austin, TX. I know, there is potential for any spiritual activity that we participate in to quickly turn sideways. We are sinners. Without much effort we can mess up a good thing. If this is used to gain brownie points with God or somehow to earn favor with God, you’re missing the point. However, there is a benefit to focusing our hearts and minds on Christ. My prayer is that you may find this to be a helpful guide. May God, by his grace, use it to remind us of our desperate need for Christ and how, in Christ, God met that need.