Lent is a special time of year for me. I know not every Christian observes this season of 40 days before Easter, and my family hasn’t consistently participated in the observation, either. It certainly isn’t on the list of essentials to salvation, but it does offer an opportunity to enrich and deepen one’s experience and relationship with Christ.
We have taught our children that Lent isn’t just about giving something up. We site the Biblical passage about Jesus’ instruction his people to be aware that simply getting rid of a demon and wiping the place clean isn’t enough. When that demon sees a big beautiful empty space, he’s going to grab a bunch of friends and have a party! So, while giving up something in order to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us that was so much greater is a good thing, it is important to fill that space with something else.
For some, when a craving hits (for whatever sacrifice you have chosen, be it a type of food or drink or an activity), allowing that craving to direct their thoughts to Jesus is enough. For others, the choice to use the craving as a reminder to initiate a more godly activity is the way to go. Some people choose to add journaling, lengthen their daily prayer time, devote themselves to daily reading of the Word, or engage in frequent activities with the whole family. Other choices include donating time, talent or money to a cause, seeking a mentor, or joining a spiritual small group.
I think anything that brings us closer to Christ and His Body or moves us into service is a pretty good thing! Lent is as good an excuse as any to run further, breathe more deeply and connect more fully with the things that matter.