It doesn’t seem that long ago since Christmas. Seven weeks and five days to be exact.
And now we are already gearing up for Easter. The Easter eggs have been in the shops for a few weeks already. It seems that preparation starts earlier and earlier.
But for pretty much all my life I have not been prepared for Easter. Today is Ash Wednesday and it marks the beginning of Lent. The time period of 40 days or so where we traditionally give up something we love. Maybe for you its coffee, or chocolate or cigarettes, or maybe you are giving up watching LOST. Maybe you gave that up ages ago.
Whatever it is. It’s good to deny ourselves some stuff over this period. It’s good to direct our minds on something other than ourselves. And I think that is the main point of Lent. It’s not that we try and make ourselves miserable for some sort of higher spiritual experience.
But it’s supposed to help us to think outside our own existance and help others,
It’s supposed to prepare us so we can appreciate Easter more.
I don’t think Lent is just about giving up something though. It’s also about replacing it with something else that is good and worthwhile. It’s about remembering the sacrifice Jesus made by sacrificing something we love.
So maybe you have decided to give up your ipod (I know, I know, how 2007 of me), or maybe you won’t go on facebook for a while. I have heard lots of really good ideas. How about not using the radio or having music play in your car so you can spend driving time, praying instead.
But what are we replacing these things with? Who are we helping? Where are we directing our time now that we have given up facebook for a while?
Well as I wrote about in my last post, I am not the most disciplined of people. So instead of this year setting myself up for failure and feeling crap I have decided to follow this Lent Calendar from Marshill. It might be a great way of us to connect better.
There are a load of different ways you can get ready for Easter. You don’t just have to give up stuff. You can give up time. You can help someone who needs help. You can take an interest in an issue in the world that is damaging the Earth. You can drink only water and donate the money you normally would spend on coffee or beer to help create clean water for people who don’t have it.
I must stress that this won’t make you more holier or superior to anyone who doesn’t give up something at Lent. But what it will do is give you a greater appreciation of what Jesus did. Of the sacrifice he made. Of the life we now have because of his dying to himself.
Why not give it a go? What is there to lose? What are you going to give this Easter?