The purpose of giving something up for Lent is to ask God to draw you closer to Him as we, the body of Christ, draw closer to the foot of the cross. Lent is not a law, but an opportunity.
Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust: Why Lutherans Receive Ashes on Ash Wednesday
Many non-Lutherans wonder why their Lutheran friends and family members wear ashes on their forehead at the beginning of Lent. There are three reasons why: to remind them of their sinfulness, to remind them of their mortality, and to remind them of their redemption.
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WHAT IS REPENTANCE, ANYWAY?
If we could ever be sorry enough to be forgiven, then we wouldn’t need Jesus. If we could repent in our own strength, and thus be forgiven… then the cross was useless. If our confession was all that was required, there would be no need for the Gospel. Therefore, repentance isn’t something we can do on our own. It is something that God works in us.
Advent: Past, Present, and Future
In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge needed to be visited by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future before he finally came to fully appreciate what Christmas was all about. In a similar vein, it is important for today’s Christians to acknowledge Advent in it’s past, present, and future contexts in order to fully appreciate what Advent is all about.