«The Gift of Lent»
February 7, 2015
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which this year begins on Ash Wednesday, February 18 and ends the Saturday, April 4. Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, which means «spring.» The season is a preparation for celebrating Easter. Historically, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts. Think of the forty days of Lent as a gift of extra time. Imagine for a moment that you have a very important deadline to meet and you are very close. Unexpectedly you are told that now you have forty days more to get it done. That would be great news to most of us. The deadline of Lent is Easter Sunday. The forty days are a gift given to us as time of preparation, a time to get spiritually fit to once again receive the good news of our Risen Savior. This news is not to be taken lightly since it is central to our understanding of life, service, death and eternal life. To prepare for Easter we must begin by slowing down the pace. Our human spirits were not designed for multitasking, living in cyberspace and having relationships through social media. The forty day journey will help us understand that we carry too much unnecessary baggage. I am talking about all the things we’d like to get back to and do differently. Those are extra burdens that must be left behind in order to get fit. Try and see how much you can discard during your extra forty days. Dust off the Golden Rule and use it during your days of preparation. In other words, treat every person you encounter the same way you want to be treated. You will be amazed how much better you will feel about yourself and towards others. Find your eternal role during the forty days of Lent. Extra time for reflection will help us identify the good works we can do that will continue to benefit others long after we are gone. Do not underestimate the eternal value of your kind words and deeds. Please, do not think of Lent as a time to give up on chocolate or some other guilty pleasure. Instead, think of these forty days as an opportunity to spring forth into a more meaningful and abundant life. Enjoy your gift of Lent and pass it on!