"Is it already Lent again? That time of the church year where we walk around in sackcloth and ashes and have gloomy thoughts..." If that (or anything along those lines) is what comes to your mind, when you hear the word "Lent", then think again! From the earliest centuries, this phase of preparing for Easter has been observed. At first, it was a time of preparation of those, who would be baptized at Easter. So it clearly points to towards the highlight of our Christian calender, the celebration of new life, new beginnings. The word as such stands for the time of the year (spring), a time of new beginnings - those of us, who have garrdens may already have discovered the first harbingers of newly awakening life.
While Easter is the time of jubilant "halleluja"s, the liturgy refrains from using this expression during Lent. But that does not mean, that Lent needs to be a joy-less and miserable time. How could something, that is supposed to be a preparation for the epitome of joy (Easter) be anything but joyful? And yet it is a deep and quiet form of joy. To give this period of preperation a special focus, we sometimes decide to "fast from something": acohol or chocolate, social media or plastic. Such exercise of (self)disciplin can support our intention of taking Lent seriosly. Other elements may include prayer or a series of studies.
The journey of fourty days
Starting on Ash Wednesday and counting six days a week (the Sundays are exempt!) brings you right to holy week. If you wish to observe Lent, maybe it helps to have some companions. There are things we can do together with others, maybe just once a week for 20 or 30 minutes. We have a local (St Boniface) program of Evening Prayers, there are convocationwide initiatives and there are, of course, many more opportunities out there. Whatever you go for, don't overdo it. It is not supposed to exhaust you but to refresh and strengthen you!