Anyone with a liturgical bone in his or her body, and even many who are without, are aware that today is Ash Wednesday — about as late in the season as it can come. Ash Wednesday ushers us into the season of Lent, a time of reflection and repentance and remembering Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
It is customary, as we know, to give up something during Lent, something we like a lot, as a daily reminder that Christ gave up his life for us. I grew a little dissatisfied with that approach some years ago, because my tendency was always to give up something — like chocolate or fried food or second helpings — that would be good for me, anyway. So, I realized that such “sacrifice” was really not for Jesus, but a selfish act on my part, with Lent being the enforcer.
Since then, I’ve tended to take a dual approach to Lent. Aware that Jesus not only gave up his life, but was constantly giving himself to others, I may still give up some favorite food or activity, but I also combine it with giving something. So, this year, I won’t be eating any sweets between meals (and maybe not even then), but I’ll also be looking for at least one random act of kindness to present itself each day, something I can do or give to make another’s life a little easier, a little happier.
I’d be interested in hearing from readers. Anyone willing to comment and say what you’re doing for Lent?