The season of Lent can be rather confusing for people. If you didn't grow up in an environment that explained what it was about (like me), you may have only known it by it's ugly tagline, "I gave that up for Lent", or it's more party-like relative, "Mardi Gras" (meaning "Fat Tuesday"). But Lent is really about preparation. In old times, people would use up all their sugar, sweet breads, honey and meat, prior to Lent, then would fast those things for the next 40 days. This is why we hear people say they are giving things up for Lent.
Like many things, motive and focus are super important. Giving things up to prove something to God or for purely selfish motives, isn't really that helpful. But, there are times when taking a break from the norm or fasting from something, can be really powerful.
Lent, is a 40 day period that is designed to wet our appetite for the celebration of life, Easter. It's purpose is not to deprive ourselves or prove something or lose a few pounds or give up the things that we love to show how spiritual we are. It's purpose is to prepare us. These 40 days are here to prepare us to love life, celebrate life and feast together. They are meant to give us time to reflect on our daily activity and see the ways that we are substituting temporary satisfactions for more permanent fulfillment It is a season of contrast; sweet and bitter, full and empty, light and darkness, death and life.
We encourage you to join in this time of preparation. However you feel led to do so, we want this to be a time where the contrast of Jesus' suffering and Jesus' resurrection can become more real in each of our lives.