What People Say They Are Giving Up for Lent – 2015
Lent, the period of 40 days that precedes the celebration of Easter, has its origin in the early days of the Church. Converts seeking to become Christian, who at that time were mostly adults, spent several years in study and preparation. Under the threat of Roman persecution, becoming a Christian was serious business, so their process of preparation was intensive!
Then they went through a final period of “purification and enlightenment” for the 40 days before their baptism at Easter. The rest of the Church began to observe the season of Lent in solidarity with these newest Christians. It became an opportunity for all Christians to recall and renew the commitment of their baptism.
Today we know Lent as a season of conversion: we acknowledge the ways we have turned away from God in our lives and we focus on turning our hearts and minds back toward God. Hence the three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
These observances help us turn away from whatever has distracted or derailed us and to turn back to God. Giving up something for Lent is ultimately a form of fasting. We can deprive ourselves of some small pleasure or indulgence and offer that sacrifice up to God. Or we might “give up” a bad habit such as smoking as a way of positively turning our life back towards what God wants for us.
Each year, Stephen Smith of OpenBible.info tracks hundreds of thousands of Lenten tweets during the week of Ash Wednesday. Here is Smith’s running total of the top 100 most-mentioned Lenten sacrifices (both serious and cynical) in 2015:
|25||giving up things||243|
|87||chick fil a||57|
|99||new years resolutions||46|
Take the time now to think about what you might give up this year.
- Is it something you enjoy that you want to sacrifice for a while, like your daily latte?
- Or is it a bad habit you want to conquer, like running in late to meetings with co-workers?
- Or perhaps you want to turn your cell phone off for a few hours each day and not let it distract you from the loved ones you are with in real time?
Find something that works for you, and whatever it is, may it help you to turn towards God in this holy season of Lent.