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Why Do We Call It Lent?

Think of the 40 days preparing for Easter as something precious and to be celebrated, days lent to uslent by God.


We’re deep into Lent—the 40 days leading up to Easter, historically a time of fasting and prayer, getting ready for the celebration of the Resurrection.

The word “Lent” comes from the old English “lencten,” which means spring. This is the early spring—and if your area is anything like mine, the crocuses are pushing up through the earth, a sure sign that spring is on the way.

The early Christians celebrated baptism at Easter and so they would dedicate the weeks beforehand as a time to prepare, to be reconciled to God by a period of penitence and fasting.

Read More: LentA Time to Recharge, Renew and Draw Closer to God

At first it was just a few weeks and then it became the 40 days that we know today—and remember that’s 40 not counting the Sundays which are technically feast days and not fast days.

So Lent was a description of the time of year this was all happening, spring coming to the earth as renewal was making its way to us.

But let me try out another felicitous way of thinking of the word “Lent.”  Lent, as in lending something to someone, letting them have it because it’s yours to loan.

Sometimes you’ll hear the phrase, “borrowed time,” as in “He’s living on borrowed time.” But recently I read how in the 18th century a different expression was used. They would say “lent time.”

It’s a switch in emphasis. “Borrowed time” focuses on us and our notion of controlling our future. “Lent time” puts the emphasis back on God. Every moment is precious, every moment is lent by the divine.

Check Out Our Collection of Books on Lent

Think of these precious days as something to be celebrated because they have been lent to us, lent by the greatest of all.

The Bible says, “You are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19), a phrase that we repeat at Lent, a reminder of our mortality.

We are lent to the earth, lent to a life of joy and sorrow, lent to a life of love because we are loved. Happy Lent.

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Walking in Grace 2023 Devotional

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We wanted to let you know that we have changed the name of Daily Guideposts to Walking in Grace —(Don’t worry — we promise it is the ONLY change we’ve made!)

Walking in Grace 2023 is the perfect way to start or end each day, focusing on God’s love, and connecting you to a community of writers and readers. Each daily devotion will bless you with a short Scripture verse that draws you into His word, a true moving story about the joys and challenges of living a life of faith, hope, and optimism, a short personal prayer that helps you put the day’s message to work in your own life, and a unique “Digging Deeper” Scripture for further reflection.

In just a few minutes a day, Walking in Grace 2023 will help you find the spiritual richness you long for in your life.

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