Lent is the season before Easter, lasting 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In the 4th Century, Lent was started as a period of fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter. During this time, people often give up a particular food or habit, and set aside time to focus on the sacrifice Jesus made for us. His death and resurrection. I once heard a pastor talk about Easter, and how as Western Christians we skip through Lent, celebrate Palm Sunday, and then slide into Easter. Somehow we fail to ponder the darkness of this season, and the death of Jesus.
“Lent is upon us, inviting us to dwell in the valley of the shadow of death, yet without fear, for the good shepherd is with us. If we remain open and receptive in the darkness of Lent, if we remember that growth most often occurs in darkness and in secret, if we let God teach us in that darkness, and if we surrender the darkness when it is time to embrace new life, we can more deeply experience Easter joy. We can rejoice, as always, that Christ has defeated death’s finality. And we can also rejoice that we have been brought from the valley of death’s shadow into the marvelous light of our resurrected Lord.”
(Kimberlee Ireton. Relevant Magazine)