Each year, as Lent approaches, many Christians find themselves asking what they should “give up for Lent.” Though it is not mandatory for a Protestant believer to do so, it has become a tradition in many denominations to fast or abstain from something (food, vices, or other daily enjoyments).
“To grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”—Isaiah 61: 3
A faint spirit, the oil of mourning, the ashes of grief—God promises to deliver us from these. What a blessing it is to serve a God who turns the sorrow of grief into a time of praise!
As you stroll through the local stores, you’ll see an abundance of bunnies, baskets, and candy for sale, and those may be the only signs of Easter you’ll find outside of church. Unlike its Christmas counterpart, Easter is mostly uncommercialized, which is pretty remarkable: the day that we celebrate the glory of Christ’s resurrection remains untainted by retailers.
However, just because we’re not receiving Easter ad upon Easter ad in our newspapers and inboxes doesn’t mean we should pigeonhole the holiday as a minor celebration. Easter is perhaps the most crucial holiday on the Christian calendar—even the word crucial has its roots in Christianity, stemming from the term for crucify.
Grace and peace to you as we embark on a journey of reflection, meditation, worship, and service over the course of the next several weeks.
The Lenten season differs in many ways from the Advent season: we don’t have a hanging of the greens, we don’t sing carols, and instead of anticipating the birth of the Christ child, we prepare ourselves for His death and resurrection.
Even though I’m a fan of technology, it seems like there’s no escaping it, even if you wanted to. In our modern, digital world, it’s easy to work around the clock: our cell phones are always on and everyone expects their text messages and emails to be answered instantaneously.