Tomorrow begins the season of Lent. I am not Catholic, but I do celebrate it. Well, I don’t exactly celebrate forty days of fasting and sacrifice – it’s more of an observation – but after seven years of observing the Great Fast, I actually look forward to it.
Why, you ask.
There’s something about knowing that I am giving up something in exchange for something else, something new, that lends itself to expectation. Lent precedes Easter and Easter is the celebration (yes, celebration) of Christ’s resurrection; it’s a time of rebirth, when Spring follows Winter and seeds planted begin to grow. Who wouldn’t look forward to that? Yeah, there are forty days of self-denial involved, but it’s a drop in the bucket when you consider the benefits. After all, who couldn’t use a little less of us and a little more of God? Case in point…
Three years back, my family started observing Lent with me (not traditionally, mind you; I was raised Pentecostal, not Catholic). We all chose something that was a sacrifice for us, with sweets being the biggest offender for everyone, except my youngest. She doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. And after thinking about it for a week, she couldn’t come up with anything, so we chose chips for her.
That’s not a sacrifice, she insisted, even as she shoveled salsa-flavored chips into her mouth.
If you’re fighting to keep it, then it really is, I told her.
She thought about it for a minute, then asked, well, what if I just eat it, then ask for forgiveness?
Of course I said, no, but I don’t think it was as effective as it could have been, considering I was laughing – probably not my best parental moment. Maybe we all need God more than just a little bit.