Lent is an annual 40-day period during the year leading up to Easter where Christians give up something of their choice, engage in rigorous prayer, fast or make a pilgrimage. These traditions were set in place shortly after Jesus’s era and were accepted by the church in 312 AD when Roman Emperor Constantine I signed the Edict of Milan. After being publicly accepted, the traditions have held ever since. The most popular tradition nowadays of lent is giving up something of your choice for 40 days. This choice is generally something that the individual wants to stop or something they should stop. Pure positivity streams from lent but it can raise some concern for Christians who may not be as close to God as they desire or should be. As a Christian I participate in and support lent but in some cases lent can be means of a pass for people to be attached to things that they want to or should give up for the other 325 days in a year (and that’s only if you make it the full 40). To some, lent is more of a New Year’s resolution with a lot of talk and not much action. But lent means much more than that.
This is an amazing time of year with an amazing message full of rich religious content and learning points. Jesus went 40 days in the desert without food or water while being tempted by Satan. This was an ultimate test of faith and strength that Jesus completed as a human. Because He was equally as human as us, we would feel relatively the same effects as Him if we were to embark on the same journey. As a tribute, we hold to the traditions of lent in remembrance of Jesus’s life as a perfect human and in preparation for Easter. Giving up something for this period is great if it’s just a commodity that you could live with or without, say coffee for example. If an individual is giving up stealing for a 40-day period in remembrance of Jesus, should they really be doing that in the first place? The quick answer is no and I’m not saying this happens frequently but it gets to my point that we need to give up something that God may not look upon righteously regardless of what time of year it is.Lent gives Christians the opportunity to self-reflect on priorities and their stance with their faith and with God. Giving up commodities can be a great refreshment of what we truly need in life, which is, for the most part less than we have now. We all NEED less than we think we do to survive, society just sets the standard for what we SHOULD have to make our lives a little easier. This pre-Easter preparation can clear our mind to a “live simply” mentality that reigns true in all of our lives if we only commit. Downsize your commodities and let your necessities prevail firmly. Lent should NOT be treated as a window to give up a sin for a temporary period but as a window to recognize your faults and eliminate them in the future. If this is the case, hopefully this year’s lent period will reveal the need for further relationship development with God. Lent creates overall positivity through sustained traditions that began around 50 AD and presents the opportunity for change to those who need it. I strongly encourage all Christians to look at lent as a time of self-reflection and evaluation on where you can improve your relationship with God and in-turn, improve your life.