When I was a child, I thought that Christmas was the best thing since sliced bread and Easter was a rather dull holiday after the long boring season of Lent. I had to give up something and we had cut back on what we ate especially on Fridays. On Christmas, we only went to church once, for Easter we practically moved into the church between the masses on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and finally Easter Sunday. For Christmas, we got gifts and had many celebrations, for Easter we got a small Easter basket with a few eggs and some candy. No fun for a growing child. When I got older, I began to realize the connection between the two holidays and the importance of Lent and the Easter season. Of course, without Christmas there would be no Easter. We need the birth of Christ for the promise and hope of things to come. For me though, Easter has now become the more important of the two holidays. Through Christís passion, death and resurrection, Jesus delivers the promise and fulfills the hope.
Lent helps us prepare to receive the promise and live with the hope. It is the season for reconciliation and renewal. Even more than Advent, Lent offers us an opportunity to reconcile ourselves with Christ and celebrate the glory of God, because at the end of this season Jesus is going to make the ultimate sacrifice for the human race. He will suffer and die, then finally be resurrected for our sins.
Should we go into this season sorrowful and sad as if grieving for someone we have lost? Yes, there should be some dignity and sadness, but an equal ration of joy and celebration should be part of it. The resurrection of is a wonderful and glorious thing that God has given us as a gift. Jesus with his sacrifice has paid the ransom for our souls. During Lent, we are traveling on a journey of spiritual renewal. It is not an easy journey, but one well worth the effort. For when we reach our final destination, it will be a new life with Christ.
What do we need to make this journey? You wonít need to pack much, just a bible and an open mind and heart. Our hearts need to be open to the message that God has given us. God has forgiven our sins and to prove it he let his only Son die on the cross. Jesus died for us so that we could be saved from Satan and Hell. We only need to let ourselves be saved. By taking the journey to Calvary and the Cross with Jesus, we acknowledge our humanness and let God into our lives. By asking through prayer for Godís love and help, we admit our weakness and take on the armor of God. We can only do this through Jesus and with Jesus.
So how do we do this? We start by praying and reading our bible. We accept Jesus in our life as our savior and companion. We thank God for anything and everything, even the hard and bad times. We help those most in need of our help. However, you have heard all this before from others and me. What else can we do? The answer is still the same. You have to spend time with God everyday. Let him be a part of your life. A few years ago, I bought my daughter a teddy bear that had the initials WWJD monogrammed on his sweater. The initials stood for What Would Jesus Do. This little teddy bear now sits on my desk to remind me every time I need to make a decision about something to stop and think about what Iím doing and ask Jesus what he would do. Jesus is waiting for us to ask, to invite him into our lives. Lent offers the perfect opportunity to extend that invitation. Do it today and start Lent off with Christ in your life. Make this years Lent the one that changes your life.