Lent starts Wednesday, March 1 and Easter is Sunday, April 16
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Christians often have a hard time finding balance. Celebrations of Easter are a perfect case in point: either we focus entirely on the pain and brutality of the Crucifixion, or we jump ahead to the glory of the Resurrection without taking into account the Via Dolorosa leading to it. Most of all, we tend to forget the weight of our own sin that necessitated Christ's redemptive work in the first place.
The beauty of Easter is that, despite our inability to comprehend or celebrate it the way we ought, if we trust in Christ's death, burial and resurrection, His salvation will cover our deficiencies. This doesn't mean we can observe His resurrection however we please; simply that He won't hold our human frailty and imperfection against us.
Most Christians observe Easter for several weeks. The 46 days leading up to Easter Sunday are called Lent, and are meant to be a time of focused self-denial and prayer. Traditionally, observers give up something they enjoy during this period (usually food or drink of some kind), and only partake once the Resurrection of Christ has been officially commemorated (with each intervening Lord's Day as a break in the fast).
Lent mirrors the 40 days Christ spent fasting in the wilderness. It's a time for reflection, for rooting out sin, for hope. It's not a dry period after the debauchery of Mardi Gras; such traditions are of the Devil, not Christ, and have no place in Christian life or practice. The joy at the end of Lent is an eternal one, the joy of everlasting life with God in His heaven through the cleansing blood of the risen Savior.
This is the core and the whole substance of our faith. Through sin, every man, woman and child is separated from God; through the God-Man's bloody sacrifice, salvation restores us to union with Him and frees us from our sin-slavery to liberty in righteousness. This is the good news we proclaim every time we celebrate Easter, not just one Sunday each Spring, but every moment we rely on the Lord and Giver of Life for sustenance and the hope of glory.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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