Now it is Lent, a 40-day period in the church calendar during which Christians are encouraged to reflect specifically on the sufferings of Jesus in preparation for Easter. Although I was raised Catholic (or maybe because of it), I am not a huge proponent of church “traditions” and such. Since I became aware of the truth of the gospel, I have mainly been taught and influenced by more contemporary, evangelical varieties of Christianity. That being said, I am now a member of the Lutheran church (Wisconsin Synod for those who know the difference), and can appreciate the richness and depth of meaning that is highlighted by understanding the significance of liturgy, seasons, etc.
I have trouble deciding what to “give up” for Lent – again perhaps because of my Catholic upbringing and resentment of it. I try to settle on something, and before I know it, Lent is half over so why bother? But still it is good to be mindful, consciously aware during this time, of the tremendous sacrifice and suffering that Jesus endured for our sake, out of love for us, to bring us from darkness into His eternal light and life.
I have also found that the observance of Lent tends to make Easter even more amazing. Just as you can’t truly know good without evil, or light without darkness, concentrating on the passion and suffering of Jesus serves to accentuate the shining brilliance of the resurrection on Easter morning. So I find it helpful and beneficial to my experience of the faith to observe Lent – even if I can’t decide on something to “give up.”