Today is Ash Wednesday and as Chris and I talked about it over the weekend I told him that this was always a day that I looked forward to with anticipation. I know that may be a little “odd” because the symbolism behind Ash Wednesday is that it represents the 40 days of fasting that Jesus practiced in the wilderness. Ash Wednesday is the “kick off” to Lent where Christians are reminded to repent and believe in the gospel and receive the mark of the cross on their foreheads from the ashes of last year’s Easter palm branches. I am not a huge fan of fasting although I have done it and realize the importance of it in my spiritual life so my focus during Lent is not on the fasting and the self denial but more on the refocusing and giving of myself.
The past few years I have started a Lenten tradition that I plan to continue in 2015. Instead of giving something up and believe me -I have gone that route some years. I have given up sweet tea which was a big thing when I lived in North Carolina. I have given up chocolate which is a huge thing anytime for me. I have given up salty snacks. I have given up a multitude of things but once I gave up “giving up” and focused on giving instead I have had a deeper connection with what this season should be about for me.
This year I am going to continue to give instead of give up. During Lent I will send 40 letters to 40 different people who I want to tell that I love them. Some years I have gone the homemade card route but this year my time is limited for card making other than my Hospice cards and I don’t want this to be a stressful exercise. Instead I want to honor some of the people in my life who might not realize how much they mean to me.
I found the perfect pad of fold and mail stationary that had the perfect number of 40 which means I can send one out every day in Lent (leaving out the Sundays). They will be easy to carry with me on my travels and small enough that I can just jot a few lines without having to write a novel. I was thrilled when I found these and know that they will be my perfect Lenten letter solution.
I know that not everyone has the same feeling about Lent as I do and that is fine with me but for me it is a time to reflect and perhaps reassess where I am in my life, in my Christian walk and in my outreach to others. Anytime that I can spend a little bit of time trying to improve myself is well worth it.
Do you have any traditions that you do during Lent? Do you give something up? Do you increase your Bible study or church attendance? Do you give up or give? I would love to hear what you do. Please feel free to comment and remember that Comments for a Cause this month goes to Room to Read.