“Have a happy Lent!”

“Have a happy Lent!” That’s something you won’t hear very often. We wish people a happy Easter but treat Lent like something we have to sludge through. You know, “What did you give up for Lent?” “How many more days until I can eat chocolate or drink coffee again?” Then of course there’s the fact that we ARE supposed to consider our need of Christ and the sacrifice He gave on the cross to pay our sin debt.

But the fact is, there is so much JOY in Lent. For starters, Christ DID pay the debt. We don’t have to wait for Easter to realize that, though our sins were many and our debt was huge, the debt has been fully paid! Jesus willingly died on the cross, fulfilled all that our debt required, died, and then rose again in victory! We can celebrate that every day of Lent.

I want to suggest some ways for you to get the joy flowing and rising in your heart for the rest of this season:

1. Listen to lots of great music. If you typically play the oldies or pop or rock when you are driving, for the rest of Lent play some great worship songs that lift up Jesus. In the morning while you shower, do your hair, do the morning routines . . . listen to the praises of Jesus, the Savior, that fill your heart and remind you that the debt has been paid—you are free! The music will give you a rush of joy for the day.

2. Remember that because every Sunday is a mini-Easter, a celebration of the Resurrection, make Sunday even more celebratory than usual. Take a prayer walk, thanking God and praying for the residents around your neighborhood. Take someone who needs Jesus to church with you and lunch afterward. Invite the entire family to your house for a Sunday meal or dessert and have each believer share their salvation story. Make Sunday special!

3. Read a great book to stretch your understanding. There are so many wonderful reads that will make this a memorable and transforming season. The Shack by Wm. Paul Young will stretch your heart and emotions as you consider God, forgiveness, and redemption in new ways. Divine Direction by Craig Groeschel will challenge you to make seven critical decisions for your life. Steven Furtick’s Seven Mile Miracle challenges you to a new beginning based on the last words of Christ on the cross. Or there are many other books. Get one, and grow.

Easter and Christmas are my favorite times of the year. Christmas is when Jesus left heaven so we could go there. Lent and Easter are when He conquered death and sin so we can, too. Have a Happy Lent!