I'll admit something strange: I've really been looking forward to Lent this year.
Perhaps it is because I have already been fasting each Monday for my friend, Johnny (he has responded miraculously to treatment, far above our fondest expectations). Maybe I'm finally getting the hang of Lent in my ninth year of celebrating it. I'm not sure what it is.
I do know that I longed to fast. I longed for 40 days to get away from the gunk in my life and focus on God. I longed for the darkness of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. I long to experience the luxurious joy of Easter at the end of these 40 days of deprivation.
About two weeks ago, I started asking the kids what we should fast from. We're celebrating Lent as a family this year. I mentioned sweets & desserts. Our home has been covered with candy ever since Halloween. We were finishing up the last of the junk food when Christmas rolled around. Then there was Valentine's Day. Yuck!
The kids didn't like the idea. But it was Owen who brought it up three days later. He had told his friends at school that he would fast, and he seemed to like the idea. Ellie bought in too. Everyone agreed once I told them we would celebrate Diddy Gras on Fat Tuesday: we would take all of the candy and ice cream out of the cupboards, and we would eat as much as we could stuff our guts with!
In cleaning out the cupboards, I filled a whole grocery bag full of junk food. We stopped at Food Lion and bought pints of Ben & Jerry's. We pigged out that night until we were sick (everyone but Owen, who was too obsessed with his GameBoy game to notice the food). To be honest, it hasn't tempted me since.
To me, the goal of Lent is casting aside vanities. Whenever I'm tempted to think of what I've given up for Lent, I merely remind myself of the things Christ gave up for me. It really puts things into perspective and gives me more reasons to thank God for the gift of Christ.