Lent is a season of 40 days, not counting Sundays. It begins on Ash Wednesday – Feb. 10 this year – and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The 40-day season represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin His ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.
Sundays in Lent are not counted in the 40 days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter," and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.
Click here to see a wide variety of United Methodist resources to help mark the season. Click here to check out some ideas from Rethink Church for capturing the season's reflections in photos and sharing them on social media.