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Why Protestants Should Celebrate Lent?

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Is Lent just a Catholic thing?  As an evangelical Christian why should I celebrate Lent?  When you think of Lent, you probably think of families that don’t eat meat on Fridays and the act of giving things up for Lent.  Usually, certain restrictions are imposed or luxuries are given up for the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter (the period commonly known as Lent).   The Catholic church generally encourages these giving up things for Lent as penance for sins.  So, why would non-catholics consider celebrating Lent?

The History of Lent can be traced to the first century Christians - most notably those living in Egypt during that time. Similar to the period of Advent, this was a period of fasting and prayer for new converts to prepare for Baptism, which was usually done on Easter Sunday. Some believe the 40 days were chosen because they may approximate the length of time in hours that Jesus was in the tomb. The number is extremely significant in the Bible with numerous godly men who had significant spiritual experiences that lasted 40 days or 40 years (more on that in my BLOG next week). Lent was codified by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Because it is generally viewed as a liturgical practice, most non-liturgical churches don’t usually celebrate Lent. The main reason they oppose it is because it is not mentioned in the Bible and there doesn’t appear to be anything resembling it in the Bible. However, there are many holidays that Christians celebrate that are not in the Bible - Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Independence Day, to name a few. Most non-liturgical churches do, however, celebrate Advent as the period leading up to the birth of Jesus. Why do they not recognize the period leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection? To a lesser extent, the non-liturgical churches also believe celebrating Lent can lead to a works-based view of religion especially since it is a firm obligation in the Catholic church and in some liturgical churches. This is a valid claim - we don’t ever want to focus on works and exclude the teaching about the freedom that can be found in Christ. We are ALL saved by grace through faith. However, I believe non-liturgical protestants can and should celebrate Lent, not as an obligation but as a choice. I believe we cannot fully appreciate Jesus’ resurrection without spending time focusing on HIs sufferings.

I believe this should be a practice we can institute in our families to devote time to focusing on Jesus. I have celebrated a Christ-Centered Advent season for fourteen years with my kids - shouldn’t we place the same, if not more, focus on the most significant act of our Lord - His burial and resurrection? And, we shouldn’t just focus on the resurrection but also the cross. If there had been no cross there would have been no sacrifice. If there had not been a perfect sacrifice in our place, we would not have the hope of eternity. This is HUGE! So, we should and can encourage our children to focus on the cross! I think it is important during this time that we not lead them into works based religion - so, you have to pray about the inclusion of sacrifices during the period. But, even if your kid don’t give something up individually, your family can focus on Jesus AND sacrifice time! When you think about it, this is a small sacrifice compared to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. Or, instead of or in addition to sacrificing something you could choose to encourage them to develop their heart and spend more time focused on Him! I challenge YOU to consider your Savior and immerse yourself and your family more in the WORD. Over the next few weeks, I will be providing you some ideas for how to celebrate Easter with your family. Today, I want to challenge you to begin preparing for a Christ-Centered Easter now by building a Resurrection Garden with your children. I created an Easter Garden with supplies I found at Dollar Tree. Since the first day of Lent is February 26, 2020, I encourage you to get started on it this week so that you’ll have the Easter Garden for you to enjoy as you look for to Resurrection Sunday. Come back next week because I’ll have more ideas.

How to Make a Resurrection Garden: Supplies needed:

  1. Shallow Dish (prefereably with drainage holes in the bottom)

  2. Small Pot for the Cave (Package of 3 can be purchased at Dollar Tree)

  3. Sticks and Twine or small wooden dowels and rubber bands (also available at Dollar Tree)

  4. Potting soil (also available at Dollar Tree)

  5. Grass Seed

  6. Paint Pen (optional)

  7. Large Rock (just grabbed this one from my garden)

  8. Small river rocks (bag at Dollar Tree would be enough for 2 gardens)

  9. Drainage Saucer (I also got mine at Dollar Tree)

1. Lay the small pot on its side in the dish. Mound up a hill with the potting soil around the pot to look like a cave. Place a ‘stone’ beside the opening of the cave. (It may look more like a tomb if you spray paint the inside of the small pot black.)

2. Sprinkle river rocks in front of the cave and large stone.

3. Sprinkle grass seed around the dirt and burrow some of the seeds slightly in the dirt.

4. Mist the soil with water

5. Cut some short sticks and use twine to make 3 crosses. Place these in the soil.

6. Place your garden in a warm sunny spot and mist with water when it gets dry, usually daily. You don’t want the soil wet but not dry either.

7.  Enjoy your Resurrection Garden and appreciate the Creator God who makes these seeds grow and provided for all of our needs, to the point of providing a Savior to take the penalty for our sin.

8. For Easter Sunday, you can put a small scrap of white linen cloth in the "tomb" and even put a small angel figure outside the tomb as a nice surprise for your children.

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