Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lent Begins Tomorrow - Already

Being an old-timer in many ways, I tend to like to follow some old traditions. For example, I find it very satisfying to give something up for Lent. Making a small sacrifice for those 40 days and 40 nights means a lot to me.

These past few years, my sacrifice has been to give up chocolate for Lent. Because I am also a devout chocoholic, this is a real deal for me. Still, I've managed to do it for a few years now. The trick, for me, is to keep enough other snacks in the house so that I do not feel unable to resist the temptation.

I don't want anyone to think I am a martyr when it comes to this. It still leaves me jelly beans, caramel popcorn, and lots of other "stuff." But I can control my intake of those much better than I can control my intake of chocolate.

So tonight I put whatever chocolate I had left (candy, cookies, whatever) into a "safe place." I made sure I would have to make a more-than-passing effort to get at them until Easter morning.

Doing this helps me to think about Lent in general. 

When I feel a yearning for chocolate, it reminds me that my tiny sacrifice is nothing compared to what Christ did during his 40 days and 40 nights in the desert and mountains.

He endured the solitude. He endured the food and drink deprivations. He endured the temptations.
He also spent that time in touch with the Father, and contemplated his immediate future. He knew what was coming. First there would be the joy of Palm Sunday. Then the misery and pain of Good Friday. And finally, the glory of Easter.

Father, thank you so much for enabling me to have this small but sincere tool of Lenten sacrifice with which to think about your Son's sacrifice, all those centuries ago. Each time I am tempted to hunt for a piece of chocolate, remind me to consider what Lent really means and what He did for me, and for all of us.

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