To commemorate the Lenten season this year, I’m doing a series of devotions called Take Up Your Cross. I’ll be looking at some events in the life of Jesus to examine his example of sacrificial living.

Before I go any further, I wanted to make sure everyone is somewhat on the same page regarding Lent. You might have grown up in a church that didn’t celebrate it and are wondering what it’s all about.

It’s actually very simple. Lent is a time of spiritual preparation in the weeks leading up to Easter. Christians from different traditions observe it in various ways, but there are three main components:

1. Giving something up – Some people will do a true fast and skip one or more meals for Lent. Some people will abstain from an activity like social media or watching the news. Most people will do a modified fast where they will give up a certain type of food like coffee or sweets. This year I am giving up Diet Coke. The idea is not weight loss or being healthy or self improvement – it is so that the time and focus we normally give to food or other things. will become a focus on God. As a word of advice, I wouldn’t choose anything too difficult to follow. Giving up coffee is fine. The idea is to create a little space in your life that you can fill up with things of God.

2. Taking something on – In addition to fasting or abstaining, Lent also involves taking on a new spiritual activity. This could be volunteering or Bible study. This year I am reading the four gospels.

3. Sundays are for celebrating – On Sunday you do not have to continue your fast. Each Sunday in Lent is considered a mini Easter – spend that time worshiping at church with family and friends.

This is something I’ve been doing for many years, and have always found it to be a great time of spiritual renewal. If you have any other ideas about Lent, I’d love to hear them!