Wednesday began six weeks of Lent. I've spent some time recently looking into the history and traditions of this season and have come to liken it a bit to the period of Advent. Advent is known as a time of waiting, of preparation, of expecting the coming of Christmas when we celebrate Christ's birth. Lent, too, is a period in which we anticipate - only this time, we anticipate His death and sacrifice. Of course, that's not the end of the story for Lent flows right into the life-changing realities of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent can be a time that helps to make Easter even more glorious. It's a time to reflect and focus on the sacrifice of the Savior on our behalf.
In preparation for the Lenten Season, I've made some plans to help me focus more closely on Christ's work on my behalf:
* Fasting & Theme Verse - I thought it appropriate to begin and end (almost) the period of Lent with a fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. I chose a theme verse for the period to post on the frig to read, meditate on, and cultivate thankfulness for its truths when the hunger pangs rumble (and in between times, too):
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed. -- I Peter 2:24
* Lenten Devotions - When looking up a verse this morning on www.biblegateway.com, I noticed the opportunity to subscribe to a free e-mail service wherein they deliver daily Lenten devotions to your inbox. I signed up and anticipate gleaning from their messages. Also, at www.reviveourhearts. com, you can read or listen to a six-week series called The Wonder of His Name that Nancy Leigh DeMoss is teaching through Lent about 32 names for Jesus.
* Lenten Reading Program - Last summer I read an idea in the book Around the Year with the Trapp Family by Maria Von Trapp in which she suggested choosing three books to read during the period of Lent. Choose a book for your mind to research, perhaps the history of the church or Christian traditions; a book for the soul, spiritual reading from a challenging writer such as Lewis, Chesterton, etc.; and one for the heart, something for encouragement such as a biography of a believer. My choices for this Lenten season include:
* For the mind: Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O'Reilly
* For the soul: Christian Behaviour by C. S. Lewis
* For the heart: In Trouble and In Joy: Four Women Who Lived for God by Sharon James
I can already feel the anticipation growing . . .