LENT! I don't know why, but I have always loved Lent, even though it is typically for our family a season of self-denial of some sort.
I have been reading a lot about Ash Wednesday and the Church Season of Lent. Lots of good reads on the blog highway, from this one at Aardvark Alley to this one at Cranach, to this one at Be Strong In The Grace.
The following is an excerpt from the wonderful daily devotion book, The Lord Will Answer- A Daily Prayer Catechism.
"The word lent has its origin in the same root as one of the German words for "spring," Lenz. As nature awakens from the death of winter, so the Christian finds newness of life in Christ, rising from sin's death.
During the 40 days of Lent, God's baptized people cleanse their hearts through the discipline of Lent: repentance, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Lent is a time in which God's people prepare with joy for the paschal feast (Easter). It is a time in which God renews His people's zeal in faith and life. It is a time in which we pray that we may be given the fullness of grace that belongs to the children of God.
Calendar: Ash Wednesday may fall as early as February 6 or as late as March 10. The dates for Lent depend on the date of Easter. Ash Wednesday is always 46 days before Easter.
Customs: Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, when ashes are placed on the forehead to symbolize repentance. The color for this service is black or purple. The color for the rest of Lent is purple. The hymns and services of Lent do not include the joyful word, "Alelluia." Consider fasting during daylight hours. Spend your regular mealtime in prayer and devotional reading. If you cannot abstain from food for health reasons, abstain from something else (e.g. television or another leisure activity). Do not fast on Sundays, which are not part of the 40 days of Lent. Read Bible stories with children each day."
Oh, that I could do that all the time. Repentance, folks.