"Lent" is the time of year when the days grow longer, in English, "Spring." For the historically observant Christian, it is the season following three Sundays after Epiphany is done. The first day in Lent is Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter.
So the length of the Epiphany season depends on when Easter takes place.
Easter is the Sunday following the full moon of Passover.
In our Gregorian Calendar that ends up to be the first full moon after March 20th.
If that full moon is on a Sunday, then Easter is the following Sunday. So if the full moon happens on March 20, then Easter is March 27 (as it was in 2005 and will be in the year 2016). In the year 2008 Easter happened on March 23rd, the first Sunday when the full moon happened after March 20th. In 2011 Easter will happen as late as April 24th.
If you are interested in learning how to figure out the date of Easter on your own, you can go to this link.
Lent is a penitential season for most Christians. As the days lengthen in this season we look forward to the light of Easter and Christ's Resurrection. During this penitential season of Lent many Christians are taught to focus on giving something up that they enjoy.
The purpose of this "fast" from one or more enjoyable things is to discipline our physical bodies.
For some people in nominal Christianity this is a way of paying respect to God, for some others it is a way of self-denial and a holy obligation--a work that they believe will please God; for others it is a way of disciplining their own bodies to make their bodies subject to their own will rather than to the cravings of the sinful nature. But there are many in Christianity don't deny themselves anything during this Lenten season.
Such a seasonal requirement for a fast is not demanded by God in Scripture. Fasting is required by some denominations for their members. It is encouraged in other denominations; recommended in others; ignored by some. And in a few denominations any fasting is condemned simply because other denominations in Christianity require it.
Lent begins 46 days before Easter on Ash Wednesday.
The pre-Easter season is roughly 49 days and the post-Easter season roughly 49 days. The Sunday before Lent begins is called Septuagessima "50th" day before Easter. 50 days after Easter is "Pentecost."
As the days of Lent lengthen so does our appreciation of Christ and the debt He paid for us with His life, death, and resurrection.
In my own observance of Lent it is a season of self-denial, great physical and spiritual obligation, and extensive time spent on the parish. My family doesn't get as much of my attention as they deserve.
This year I have had a fairly easy Lent. During this season I have the regular 4 weekend services, the Wednesday School and worship service for Wed. School, three weekday worship services, plus three weekday Bible Studies. This is on top of regular visits, hospital visits, family time and such. I have this every Lent.
But over the past 9 years I've usually had at least 3 and as many as 6 funerals during this season. Each funeral means two more sermons.
This year I am thankful that I have had no funerals (so far) during Lent. This has been a wonderful gift, allowing me to do better at my regular duties to family and parish.
But it has still been a very busy season. And I apologize for not posting more regularly on what I've been doing. I just didn't get to it.
Sorry, readers, but this blog is one of the things that I tended to give up during Lent. There just isn't all that much time to write.