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A Weekly Devotional Journey Toward Easter

We are so glad you want to dig deeper into the meaning of Lent!

People from all Christian denominations benefit from participating in the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday (February 26th this year) marks the beginning of Lent, a period of 40 days before Easter (excluding Sundays) that reminds us of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert. Lent traditions may have changed over the years, but its purpose has always been the same: self-examination, reflecting on one's life, asking forgiveness, and seeking to commune with God. Some choose to participate in some form of self-denial. Whether someone is a new believer or a seasoned one, waiting on God and seeking His way in our lives are always in season.

In the scriptures fasting is often depicted as going without food, but at its core fasting is intended to take our eyes off of our physical needs/desires and to help us fix our attention on God. Giving up some things that we often depend on (e.g. caffeine, television, social media) can help us to better refocus on our Creator and what He has for us. Here is a good resource about fasting:

The Lenten season is focused on preparing for Easter; Ash Wednesday is February 26th this year and is the day that marks the beginning of that journey. Around the world Christians from various denominations may choose to commemorate the day by fasting, having a time of prayer, having their forehead marked with ashes, or beginning a time of abstaining from a particular food, beverage, or activity until Easter, all in recognition of Jesus’ great sacrifice for us.

The ashes used on Ash Wednesday often come from the palm tree leaves that were burned after last year’s Palm Sunday. It reminds us that the original celebration of Palm Sunday gave way to the crucifixion that took place less than a week later. We reflect on our shortcomings as people who can at one time give praise and then soon become people who neglect the Savior. We are people who will one day return to the dust, but there is good news in that we can receive forgiveness and are encouraged to reflect on God’s grace and the power available to all who surrender to Christ. 

James 4:6-10 says it well: “He gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”

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