This is from a devotional I wrote in 1991 for my junior high students at First Baptist of Scottsdale:
Lent is the old name for spring; it means that time of year when the days lengthen. It now is the traditional time of repentance, self-examination, and fasting lasting for forty days and leading to Resurrection Sunday. This is a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter; a time of thoughtful remembrance. No holiday in the Christian calendar compares with the importance of our Lord’s resurrection. It is the center of our entire faith. Unfortunately, no other holiday compares with the neglect we give this holy day.
Usually we dye a dozen eggs at the last minute, rummage through our closets to find something special to wear and rush to the store to buy some chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. We rarely take those forty days to really prepare or to begin celebrating, and so we don’t enjoy the holiest and most joyous of holy-days as we could.
Have you ever wondered how it might be different, how to build traditions, how to avoid the secular and the pagan, how to really celebrate the resurrection of our Lord? That is precisely why I wrote this booklet; I wanted this season to be more than an exercise to be endured. I wanted the adventure of anticipation and the pleasure of being in tune with God’s Spirit.
This booklet is based on the five senses plus something to do, since I believe that is what the season is all about – doing something! Each week there is something you can see, hear, smell, touch, taste, and do. We learn through the senses and we remember better when we do it! I’ve included games, activities, recipes and lots of creative ideas, more than you will be able to do, so that you have a choice as well as to stimulate your own thinking for more ideas. And it is my prayer that at the end of lent we’ll be ready for new beginnings and we will have experienced worship with our whole being.
There are 40 days of lent (not counting Sundays) that recall the 40 hours that Jesus was in the tomb between good Friday and Easter morning. There are many other references to 40 in the Bible; 40 days Christ fasted during His temptation in the wilderness, 40 years the Jews wandered in the wilderness, 40 days between Easter and Ascension, 40 days and nights of rain. This number is believed to be God’s designed time for cleansing or testing.
In the forth century, after much confusion and centuries of debate, it was accepted that Resurrection Sunday would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the Spring Equinox. Easter will always fall between March 22 & April 25th.