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What is Lent?


Did you know that a large number of Christians use a calendar all year long that circles around the life of Jesus? It’s called the Liturgical calendar. You may have heard about times of year like Advent, Lent, Epiphany, etc., but have you ever thought about what they are or what they could mean in your life?

Right now we’re about to enter the season of Lent–the time preparing our hearts for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You may have heard about Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which is often a really large party, followed by the season of Lent which is giving up something until Easter, but it is so much more than that.

When Is Lent?

Lent actually begins on Ash Wednesday–when the previous year’s palm leaves are burned and a service is performed that focuses on reminding us from where we came: ashes (Genesis 3:19).

The season of Lent is actually 40 days plus 6 Sundays, ending on Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection of Christ.

What Do You Do During Lent?

Many people choose to give up a “vice” or something they enjoy and to replace it with prayer, scripture study, etc. The object is not to make yourself miserable or to idolize something you miss, but to remind yourself of how Jesus sacrificed and to replace your desire for that thing with a desire to love and serve Christ better.

Today there are a lot of Christians who are actively choosing to, instead of depriving themselves, doing something extra to serve Jesus. To see examples, read more about the 40Acts Challenge.

Either way, while Monday through Saturday generally focus on sacrifice, Sundays are for feasts and celebrating Christ. Each Sunday during Lent has a different focus and significance.

What is Holy Week?

Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter that walks us through the event of Jesus’ last week on earth before being killed and then brought back to life. It begins with Palm Sunday, when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as people waved palm leaves at him shouting, “HOSANA!”

Holy Wednesday commemorates Jesus’ betrayal, Maunday Thursday commemorates the last supper, and Good Friday, the day Jesus was killed.

If you are able, look for church services in your area for each of these sacred days during Holy Week.