Preparation is an essential part of every task or event for which we are getting ready to undertake. And the time and focus put into the preparation often determines the end result.
How much a student studies for an exam will determine their marks. How well an athlete trains will determine where they place in a race. And the time a baker puts into ensuring they have the right ingredients and the right measurements will determine the success of the recipe.
Preparation is part of most of the tasks and events in our lives. And that is what Ash Wednesday and Lent are all about. Ash Wednesday marks the day in the Christian calendar to begin our Lent – our preparation – for Easter.
Good Friday and Easter Sunday do not make up a single stand-alone weekend in our year. As the crux of our faith – Jesus’ death and resurrection – the Easter weekend is of paramount importance in Christian celebrations.
And for that, we need to prepare.
Lent is a time to prepare ourselves spiritually to celebrate the promise that God fulfilled when Christ died on the cross. It is a time to search our hearts, confess our sins and to accept Jesus’ sacrifice that led to our forgiveness.
Lent is not about giving up chocolate for denying yourself coffee – these are simply rituals. Lent is about preparing yourself spiritually to understand the great victory in Christ’s death and resurrection. If giving up things you love helps you to do that, then make it part of your preparation. But it is not the sole point of Lent.
Rather focus your energy on making God a part of your Lent. Spend time in prayer and reading the Word, asking God to prepare your heart to remember His great love for you. So that when the Easter weekend arrives, you can truly understand the momentous event in history, in our faith, and in your own life that we are celebrating.
Friends, as we mark Ash Wednesday and move into Lent, use the time for spiritual preparation, making Christ’s forgiveness, healing and love victorious in your life.