We are firmly into the church season of Lent now. I didn't grow up with that tradition but I've come to really appreciate it. It takes some getting used to, though, as it is rather a somber time.
We don't usually give gifts for Lent. We don't even have jolly songs for Lent. In fact, most are probably written in the minor keys. They aren't likely to be heard overhead at the mall. Unlike the Christmas Season, there aren't any great Lent candies or cookies. In fact, many give such things up altogether during Lent. Why?
I've come to think of Lent as a time we ponder what Jesus had to go through to get to the point of resurrection. Easter is so glorious but it did not happen, could not have happened, without Jesus first going through pain, humiliation, rejection and finally a horrible and public death. We have to face the dismal truth that we were responsible for that! This is the only way we can then experience the great relief of forgiveness for our sins- Jesus' gift to us!