We have just entered the Christian season of Lent, which is traditionally seen as a time of self-examination which should include prayer, meditation, Bible study and fasting.
It should also be a time when we reflect on ourselves and our lives and to consider the things that maybe we could do better.
As an act of penance many people give up something for Lent, denying themselves of some of the luxuries and excesses of life. I, personally, have never been someone who has given up something for Lent; I’d much rather take on a mission for Lent. That is because I’m not sure whether Jesus is really interested in whether I can stop eating chocolate for 40 days, especially since I rarely ever eat it! I think that there are far more important things that he would like us to do that might change situations and people for the better.
As I wrote this article, I thought of the awful conditions that many in this country have suffered over the last few weeks. It must have been quite depressing for those people who have endured the worst of the weather. With this in mind, I asked myself why Christians should deliberately enter a time of darkness and drudgery during Lent when there are more than enough problems for people to cope with in life.
At times, life can seem pretty desperate with no respite from our troubles on the horizon, but I’ve just looked out of my window and saw that spring flowers are poking their heads through the soil and buds are beginning to appear on the trees and hedges in my garden. This made me realise that whilst Lent is naturally a sombre time, I think that it’s important to remember that there are many other things that we should be happy about. Spring is the time of year when new life is created.
It reminds me of how quickly things change in life and, more importantly, it reminds me how quickly Jesus transforms things and offers us hope out of our troubles.