My Christian upbringing has always been in denominations that did not celebrate Lent in any way. I saw a screenshot of a page of 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Cole somewhere, and the information there looked interesting, so I requested a copy to read and review.
The book is meant to be read during the Lent season, one chapter per day. In order to review it faster, I chose to read straight through.
The chapters are set up with a retelling of part of the passion story, a reflection on that, a recommended fast for the day, some background information on the history and current practice of Lent, a small Scripture passage to read for the day (starting in John 12 on day 1 and ending with John 21 on day 40), and some blank space for taking notes.
The fasts are not merely physical things, such as food or electronics or purchasing, but they also include fasting things such as regrets, collecting praise, rationalism, religious profiling, and criticism, among others.
I, personally, struggle with devotionals. While I knew this book was broken down into 40 sections corresponding to Lent, I think I was expecting more reading than mixture of reading, reflection, writing, etc. If you like devotionals or workbooks, this book will be great for you. While it is geared toward the Lent season, I don’t see why one couldn’t do it at any point in the year to focus again on Christ’s death and resurrection.
Some of the fasts would be better suited as a weekly or monthly thing, focusing solely on it before moving on to something else. I think it would take me a lot longer than one day to really gain from fasting from discontentment, for example.
The book is well written, and it has some great insights into associating with Christ’s death. The historical and explanatory passages regarding the practice of Lent were tough for me to get through, but someone who practices Lent as part of their Christian faith would probably benefit from it.
If you practice Lent or if you just want a book to help you focus on the death and resurrection of Christ (and how we can use that focus to reorient our lives), pick up 40 Days of Decrease.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher through the Book Look Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review.