Tomorrow, Christians all over the world start the 40 day period of Lent. The period leading up to Easter. The time we remember the resurrection of Jesus after He died on the cross. Typically, churches pay a lot of attention to Christmas (when Jesus was born) and Easter (when He rose again after death) as these are the periods in the year that the Christian faith is openly accepted by the wider world.
But what is this 40 day period leading up to it? In our Adventist church, we pay little attention to this custom whereas other churches reflect on this period a lot more. 40 Days is also a significant number in the Bible. 40 years was Moses in the desert…40 days it rained with Noah and the Ark and 40 days Jesus was in the desert alone, praying and fasting before He was hung on the cross.
Some fast during this period of reflection leading up to Easter and others do a specific fast of a certain food or activity (no chocolate for example). A period of quiet remembrance is perhaps not such a silly thing!
Before the fast, families would celebrate and eat all the food that they would not be eating for the next 40 days. And that is where shrove Tuesday comes from. Usually pancakes are eaten as they get rid of eggs, milk and fat, things that are forsaken during a fast.
Even though today will not mark a period of fasting for me, it will start a period of contemplation. Just like my previous blog posts, this period leading up to the Cross and Resurrection reminds me of what He did for you and me. His love for us so immense, He gave up His life for us. His grace allows us to come home with Him in the not so distant future, and that is worth contemplating over as it requires a response from me!
Today I will also eat pancakes. Why break a good tradition! I love pancakes! The Dutch ones, not the fat American ones. So perhaps not as much diary and fat to get rid of… But still a mark of the beginning of Lent.
What will you be reflecting on these next 40 days? Are you giving anything up for it?