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Day Five: Lent can prepare your heart for Easter

Matthew 28:5-6 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

Ultimately, this time of sacrifice and reflection serves to set our hearts in the right direction toward Jesus as we get close to Easter. 

This isn’t a time to become ritualistic in our faith (if you find that’s the case, perhaps you need to focus on that very thing this season). The purpose of Lent is not to sacrifice simply for the sake of it, or to gain any specific favor from God because of our doing (not by works), but instead it’s a means to draw us closer to Him by removing distractions from our lives so that we can focus on Him. 

I remember years ago a conversation between two family members, I’ll call them X and Y. X was curious about why Y’s side of the family seemed so upbeat during the Easter season, when X’s side felt it was important to be somber. Taken aback, Y said she didn’t quite understand why X thought it was required to be somber during the Easter season. X didn’t know for sure, but suggested that his family had always spent Easter in this mindset and therefore he believed that it was necessary. Still confused, Y suggested that perhaps X’s family missed the last chapter of the story–Jesus rose from the grave! It was cause to celebrate!

Of course, if we spend Lent thinking about what we’ve given up instead of what we’ve gained in Christ, it’s easy to get trapped in a mindset that keeps us focused too much on ourselves. And while it makes perfect sense to have a sense of solemnity during the days leading up to Easter as we contemplate what God gave up in giving up His only Son, let’s not forget that his Son conquered death. He rose from the grave. He gives us eternal life! He paid the price so that we don’t have to. He made it possible for us to spend eternity in Heaven with Him, and that is the greatest gift we could ever hope to achieve. 

Are you spending time feeling somber when you should be rejoicing? In what ways can you allow joy into your heart while also contemplating what the cross cost our Lord? 

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