Growing up in the Baptist tradition, I had never been exposed to Lent or the rich history and traditions surrounding the Lenten Season. To be honest? I feel a bit cheated!
Advent and Lent are traditions that lead up to the two most important calendar days in the life of a Christian. Christmas and Easter.
For me, Easter was all about everything that could be crammed into one Sunday. Decorating eggs and learning about palm branches. Singing songs that included Hosanna and “The Old Rugged Cross”, and pulling out decor with a bunny or a newly hatched chick on it. Wearing frilly ankle socks with patent leather shoes and hearing about the folded linen in an empty tomb. It ran together when I was a young girl and it stuck with me into adulthood, like a stale jellybean in my back molars.
The first time I saw the word Lent spelled out was when we lived in Fergus Falls, MN, where there were 28 Lutheran churches in the small town, plus one of every other denomination. It was on the McDonald’s billboard announcing “Lent Special..$2.99”. I had no idea that was a fillet-of-fish sandwich. I am from CA, for all I knew it was a bean curd meatless option.
And that started me on the quest of wondering and being in wonder. It was like uncovering a missing easter egg, long after the hunt is over and realizing it still had candy inside.
I began to ask questions. The more I thought about Lent, the more precious and sacred it became. For the most part, it seemed that Lent was about sacrifice and giving something up as a means of being more reflective of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, which is not a bad thing. But, then I saw a new line of thinking, where people look to the Lent Season as a time to ADD something to their lives or routine. My friend Mary creates a daily art piece inspired by scripture. Another friend, Lisa, uses her remnant yarn to knit a block every day and make a quilt to give to someone in need.
I love the thought of Lent and the disciplines and while some grew up with Ash Wednesday and Lent, many in evangelical churches didn’t. What I have found is that Lent makes you more mindful for Easter. It isn’t a day. It is a season, and I think that is worth contemplating.
So I was thinking about my life. Would I be more reflective if I gave something up, or if I added something as part of a 40-day discipline?
I have settled on the latter. I am going to be mindful to be more grateful. Forty Days of Gratitude.
Today is the first day for me to post..I know I am a bit late to the party but better late than never!
SO –Gratitude #1
Baking lemon cupcakes with Warren.
Do you practice Lent? If so, what is something you have come to appreciate about this reflective season?