Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and remembering. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season leading up to Easter. Lent is a time of preparation and I love having tangible reminders of the meaning of this sweet season. Ultimately Easter, Resurrection Sunday, is a joyous and celebratory time. But from my perspective, the celebration is enhanced if we truly understand why we are celebrating. Unless we understand the reality and impact of Christ’s death on the cross, we will never fully internalize and therefore don’t fully celebrate the resurrection. I could write more but I think this article Why Lent Still Matters does a great job explaining this concept more fully.
In our home, Ryan and I are starting new traditions so that we can remember and humble ourselves during this time. To help us get into this mindset, we will be using candles and specific readings. We enjoyed lighting candles and doing readings for the Advent season. So in this same spirit, instead of lighting candles, we will be blowing out candles. We have seven candles lit this week and on each Sunday we will put out another candle until the last candle will be blown out on Good Friday. The gradual move to darkness mimics the darkening in our hearts as we understand and contemplate Christ’s death on the cross. It’s an opportunity for us to examine ourselves and our own hearts, while at the same time getting to know our savior more intimately.
Of course Lent, Advent or any other church season or holiday are not requirements of faith or salvation. But as it is stated over 100 times in the old testament, remember. Remembering is sometimes difficult when we have work, family, life, ministry, entertainment, friends, etc. all vying for our attention. Just going to church on Sunday isn’t usually enough for me, I want to be reminded of the gospel daily. Our Christian history is a wonderful tool that we can use to remember. Celebrating Lent is just one of those ways to benefit from the rich tradition we have. Whether or not you celebrate Lent this year, if you are a Christian I would challenge you to find ways to remember and prepare your hearts in anticipation of Resurrection Sunday. We have 6 weeks so let’s remember.