Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
I did not grow up in a church that observed Lent or really any holidays. We did celebrate Christmas and Easter as a family but without any connections to any religious significance. As my husband and I began building our family we recognized the helpfulness of establishing traditions that draw our family to the Lord. My husband has proclaimed that we are Protestant Catholic Jews! Above all we seek to draw near to God and enjoy using as many ways as we can to do so.
Some friends invited us to a Passover Seder dinner and the depth of meaning it held for us was so significant that we immediately added it to our family’s traditions. I was then introduced to the idea of Advent was our first entrance into a liturgical practice. It blessed us in so many ways as we took our focus off of gifts and turned our hearts towards embracing Christ’s coming.
A few years ago we began observing Lent. For us it is a time to really focus on our need for our Savior. We attempt (and fail miserably) to fast from certain things turning the 40 days leading up to Easter and we try to add something that will draw us closer to God and/or bless other people. (We were very confused as to why Lent was supposed to be 40 days and yet turns out to be 46 days, evidently Sundays don’t count as fasting days!) I believe that God wants to teach us so many things and that opening ourselves intentionally during this season allows that to happen on a consistent basis.
We don’t force anyone in our family to sacrifice anything but discuss it and share ideas. It is not about legalism. However, it certainly points out our sin and inability to be good on our own and how we all need grace so desperately. In past years we have given up sugar, coffee, Facebook, candy, and complaining just to name a few. This year, I am giving up hitting the snooze button so that I can have time with God first thing in the morning with hopefully fewer interruptions.
I was so excited preparing for Lent this year that I bought two different helps. One is Put On Love Prayer Journal by Elizabeth Foss and the other is You Are Mine: A Study of Isaiah by She Reads Truth. They are both wonderful resources and I would highly recommend either (or both) of them!
I pray that you will draw near to Christ during this season and that we will all see our need for Him everyday and rejoice that has He has already paid the price for our sin and God sees us as white as snow!