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The Rebirth of Lent

Lent excites me because of its intense Christ-focus—and even more, its cross-focus.
By Barbara Rainey

You might be surprised to know that the season I’m already looking forward to this year is Lent. I know, I know. Isn’t Lent the season for Mardi Gras?  Doesn’t it include a day (Ash Wednesday) when people walk around with smudge marks on their foreheads?

But the season of Lent—which starts this year on March 5 and runs for six weeks up to Easter—has  begun to bloom within my soul after years of being just a bud, tightly wrapped and green. In fact, in recent years Lent is enjoying a bit of rebirth as younger families are moving back to more traditional churches and as Protestant churches are including more historical church practices into their annual calendar. 

In our non-denominational church last year, we had an Ash Wednesday service to mark the first day of Lent.  I attended, and experienced a more somber service than normal in a very dimly-lit room.  We were encouraged to look inward to acknowledge our need for a Savior, remembering that we came from dust and to dust we will return, and pause before God in humility and repentance. 

Lent excites me because of its intense Christ-focus—and even more, its cross-focus. In my love for tradition and for history, I’ve rediscovered a richness in the traditional church calendar. After the meditations of Christmas and pondering the mystery of “God with us,” I can keep my mind and body tethered to walking with God as I ruminate on the pinnacle event that changed everything: the Cross.

At this time last year I had my head buried in the Old Testament while developing a new resource for families to use during Lent. The Messiah Mystery combs through some of our well-loved Old Testament Bible stories for clues that point to the Messiah. After decades of studying the Bible, I still found my eyes wide with awe at the genius of God as He pointed the world to history’s culmination in the person of Jesus Christ the King.

And isn’t that what I want this year to be about? If Christ is to be King of my year, captivating and determining my thoughts from one season to the next, what would that look like?

It’s certainly more exciting than any Mardi Gras parade.


Copyright © 2013 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

FamilyLife is a donor-supported ministry offering practical and biblical resources and events to help you build a godly marriage and family.

Meet the Author: Barbara Rainey

Barbara Rainey is a wife, mother of six adult children (plus three sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law), and "Mimi" to nineteen grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1971. She and her husband, Dennis, whom she married in 1972, are co-founders of FamilyLife, a ministry of Cru that is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Barbara has published articles on family-related topics and is the author of Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember and When Christmas Came.  She speaks at FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember® marriage conferences and is a frequent guest on FamilyLife Today®, a nationally syndicated, daily radio program.  She and Dennis are the coauthors of several books, including Growing a Spiritually Strong Family, Starting Your Marriage Right, Moments Together for Couples, The New Building Your Mate's Self-Esteem, Parenting Today's Adolescent, Rekindling the Romance, and Moments with You. She co-authored A Mother's Legacy with her daughter, Ashley Rainey Escue and joined Dennis and their children Rebecca and Samuel on the book So You're About To Be A Teenager. Barbara has also co-authored Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest, with close friend Susan Yates, and A Symphony in the Dark, written with her daughter, Rebecca Rainey Mutz. And Barbara has written a series focusing on character traits for families, including the titles Growing Together in Gratitude, Growing Together in Courage, Growing Together in Forgiveness, and Growing Together in Truth.

Having faithfully served alongside Dennis for more than 30 years, both in ministry and at home, Barbara has recently launched a new endeavor called Ever Thine Home™.  This new line of products, including Christ centered ornaments for Christmas, teaching tools for Lent and Easter, and beautiful additions for your home for thanksgiving and year round makes it easy to express faith at home in a way that is both biblical and beautiful.  Her heart for Ever Thine Home is based on the familiar Old Testament instruction:

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:9, ESV)

You can read more about Barbara's work at

Find Barbara online on:
Twitter @BarbaraRainey and Facebook



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