Monday, March 3, 2014

Celebrating Lent

Did you know that you can celebrate a non-joyful occasion? Just as we celebrate birthdays, holidays, and other blessings, we also celebrate funerals, Sept 11, the anniversary of a loved one's death. Lent is not a joyous month: it is a time to repent for our sins, to acknowledge the incredibly great sacrifice Christ Jesus made for us, to distance ourselves from the desires of this world and focus instead on the hope of heaven. We pray more, fast more, rejoice less, and hopefully learn how to sin less. We celebrate Lent not with cake and balloons, but with a spiritual focus on loving our Lord Jesus more each day.
Do you ever wish you could see Jesus in person? Do you wonder what it would be like to interact with Him here on Earth? Hundreds of people had that opportunity about 2000 years ago. How did they respond? Their responses to the One they met in the flesh who we meet only in the spirit can help us respond to Him more fully in our own faith journeys, even though we can't shake hands with Him or see His face with our own eyes. Last year I started a tradition for myself of using the 40 days of Lent to consider what impact Jesus had on the lives of people He physically interacted with. The way they responded to Him and the changes made in them hold lessons I can benefit from in my own life.
So once again I will consider 40 individuals mentioned in the Gospels as having interacted with Jesus during His earthly life, whether for just a few moments or for several years. We'll have our calendar up, our paper hearts cut out, our button jar on the shelf, and hopefully our hearts ready to give our all for the One who gave His all for us. Our celebration of Lent has been successful enough that Reese, age 5, has been eagerly asking for the past 2 weeks when it will begin. That tells me that our celebration is going as it should: even the children understand the shift of focus and enjoy the benefits of it despite the lack of candy. And even though 40 days is an incredibly long time for someone so young, they are learning even at their age (and me still at my age!) the blessing of setting aside something good for a time so that we may receive something even better at a later date.
Linked with Modest Monday, Works for Me Wednesday, Fellowship Friday

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