Lent represents ‘season of reflection’ for Christians

40 days and 40 nights. 

Christian students prepare for the Church season of Lent. The season, which many Christian denominations recognize and celebrate, represent the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by the devil. The days lead up to the Easter holiday. 

“Lent in its most basic definition is a season of reflection and penance,” Elijah Watson, first-year history education major, said. “We believe that Jesus was tempted by the devil for 40 straight days, so in this season we try and give up something during this season that tempts us, even if it is a good thing.” 

With leading up to Easter, Lent gives Christians a chance to prepare for the coming of Jesus, Langley Sonnenberg, junior economics and finance major, said. 

“Lent is about reflecting on our actions and asking forgiveness,” Sonnenberg said. “It is about preparing ourselves and joining in Jesus’s suffering leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection.”

For many Christians, Lent represents different aspects of their faith. For Watson, he said it means looking at different areas of his life. 

“To me it means comparing my life to Jesus’s so I can look at the areas I can improve in as a Christian and as a human being overall,” Watson said. “It encourages me to spend more time in prayer, and more time in service to others.”

The season starts on what is known in the Christian faith as Ash Wednesday, which Watson said holds a lot of meaning to the season.  

“One of my favorite things about Lent is receiving the ashes on Ash Wednesday,” Watson said. “The participating faithful receive ashes on our foreheads as a symbol of our mortality and the hope we have in Jesus’s promise of salvation.”

During the time of Lent, Christians sometimes give up something which represents the temptations in their lives, Watson said. 

“Some give up chocolate, TV, coffee or whatever,” Watson said. “It can be anything, but the whole purpose is to remind ourselves how dependent we are on these things so we can make more of an effort to be dependent on Jesus.”

Actions can also be added to celebrate the season. This year Sonnenberg said she hopes to add daily prayer to increase her faith. 

“This year I’m hoping to grow in my faith through daily prayer and reflection,” Sonnenberg said. “It is so easy to get caught up in the stress of college and push God and my relationship with him to the side for ‘later.’ I want to use lent to re-center him as my priority.”

For Watson, he plans to renew his faith life and invest more into it. 

“In this season of Lent, I hope to be more mindful of how much we can really relate to Jesus,” Watson said. “Our religion is unique in the fact that our God really was humiliated, tempted, rejected and eventually killed. He understands all the struggles we go through because He’s been through it himself. So, in this season I want to lean more on Jesus and remember that I can go to Him with my problems because He went through it first.”

As Christians prepare to celebrate the season, Sonnenberg said this time of the year gives everyone a chance to grow in their faith. 

“Lent is my favorite part of the liturgical year,” Sonnenberg said. “It is the time to reflect on how our actions have brought us further from or closer to God.”

Meredith O’Bara can be contacted at [email protected]