Yesterday most people went to church and gathered around with family for a brunch, lunch, or dinner. This time with family is a beautiful thing, but the reason we come together on this Sunday is an even more beautiful thing. Easter Sunday celebrates Christ’s resurrection. Jesus rose from the dead and came back. Nothing that I can say will ever be enough to capture the beauty of Easter.
This year I decided to learn more about this season and participate or “observe” Lent. The Catholic Church is known for participating in Lent. I grew up with little to no Catholic knowledge so Lent has always been a mysterious thing. I decided to do some research on the reasons for Lent and came up with some interesting information. I wanted to be informed before I gave something up. I wanted to grow and learn more about Christ through these 40 days, not just avoid something to help my diet.
I learned that we celebrate Lent for many reasons. One story I read in Matthew 4 provided some explanation for a 40 day fast. Matthew 4:1-2 says:
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”
It goes on to tell about how Jesus uses the word of God to resist Satan until the devil left Jesus alone. Pretty powerful stuff. We live in a world of unrelenting temptation and think we have it tough. Jesus did not eat for 40 days and was offered food by the devil. HE SAID NO. He said:
“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test…… You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” Matthew 4:7&10
Jesus literally lived the perfect life of no sin because he was sent by God. He walked the same earth we walk on but the difference is he said no.
So where am I going with this? I decided to give up all sweets for Lent and every time I would crave a sweet, I would say a verse or sing a Jesus song in my head to draw me closer to him. That lasted for a little less than a month and then it all went downhill. First it was ice cream, then I thought that I already messed up so I might as well keep eating sweets. And then I eventually gave up giving up sweets. I was pretty disappointed in myself. I knew Jesus didn’t hate me because I sucked at Lent this year, but I thought that if I went the entire forty days without eating sweets, I would become stronger in my faith.
I was wrong. We do not need Lent to become stronger in our faith or to become closer to Christ. It is a wonderful spiritual exercise to grow but we can become closer to Jesus every day whether we are giving stuff up or not. God is so much bigger than fasting. Christianity is not about Lent. It is about Easter. The resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after dying on a cross for our sins. That is what Christianity is about.
I learned so much about the power of Jesus and I feel like I grew closer to God as I struggled through those long 20 days (being dramatic). I suck at Lent because I am not perfect. But the good news for me, and you, is that Jesus is. Jesus is perfect. His love is perfect. His father is perfect. He died so we could live. Jesus, you’re the real MVP. You rock.