And today, we begin the Lenten season. 40 days and 40 nights (not including Sundays) of preparation for the resurrection.
I'm Presbyterian now, but I grew up Catholic - like, mass-every-Sunday-no-matter-what Catholic. Like, church on all holy days, big Lent sacrifices, no meat/snacks on Fridays Catholic. So even though Lent isn't as intense in the Presbyterian church, I still enjoy focusing on the season and making a Lenten vow.
I did a nice little post last year on the history/tradition of Lenten sacrifices.
This year, I was having a tough time deciding what to "give up." Alcohol is already gone. Coffee is already gone. And for the most part, I eat pretty healthfully. When thinking of foods, I'd say the two things I eat most on a daily basis (that could possibly be considered "in excess") are grapes and peanut butter. Well, grapes and peanut butter are healthy (I'm a vegetarian, you must remember, so even though PB has a high calorie count, it offers serious protein) - so I didn't really want to cut them from my diet.
I needed to look outside my traditional food-related vows. And so I decided that instead of focusing on the sacrifice aspect of a Lenten vow, I would focus on the preparation aspect of Lent in general - that is, the preparation for the resurrection of Christ.
SO - I bought this book and have committed to following it until Easter: A Clearing Season: Reflections for Lent.
I think there will also be some "sacrifice"-type tasks involved. It's set up to be a lesson/week. Each week has a different Lent-themed focus and follows the Lenten journey in Matthew (I think!). And then you have to commit to a practice (recommended by the book) during the whole season. I've not completely read that part yet, but I think some of the suggested practices are: meditate for 30 mins/day; journal every day; give up a certain type of media for the season; gives x hours/week of your time to volunteer; etc. So there's definitely still some "giving up" going on, it's just not food related.
I'm really excited, though! I think this Lent season will be very different from my Lents of the past. I'm hoping to draw close to God and have a fuller, more meaningful recognition of Christ's death, and His glorious resurrection.
What are you guys doing for Lent (if anything)?