I generally start thinking about Easter a week prior when I walk into church and see a bunch of palm branches. But there is one part of the Easter season that I’ve always overlooked. The season of Lent begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. Having gone most of my life to a non-denominational church, I heard plenty of references to Lent, but there was no specific tradition around it. I just remember half my friends got to come late to school Ash Wednesday and showed up with a cross of ashes on their head (small price to pay, I thought, for getting out of school). And McDonald’s advertises their fish sandwiches a lot.
This year, my church will offer weekly Lent services for the first time ever, so it’s actually got me thinking about this observance. While year-round repentance is the norm for me, I suppose there is something to be said about having this focused time of reflection on what Christ did for me.
And then there is the part about giving up one of my vices. I gave up TV for a week in junior high to prepare for a church missions trip. I did ok with that. Last year I heard of several people who gave up Facebook for Lent. (I know a few people who should give up Facebook for Lent!) I guess we shouldn’t have to wait until Lent to give up the things that aren’t good for us. But then I find myself making excuses for my vices too; all in the name of moderation.
So, I don’t know if I’ll do anything special to commemorate Lent this year. Maybe I’ll catch a couple of the church services. But I’m curious, have you ever given up something for Lent? As a result, did you feel renewed or closer to God during that time? Have I been missing out by not commemorating Lent all these years?