It’s Lent, which people sometimes treat similar to a New Year’s Resolution and give up something that they really like (or a habit they should break) for the forty days of Lent. I remember how excited I was in high school when I figured out that technically Sundays weren’t included in the 40 days, so technically, you could break your fast on Sundays.
But Lent isn’t only about giving up something. Traditionally, Lent is 40 days, plus 6 Sundays, where you are encouraged to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. Perhaps your discipline might be to add in more prayer to your day during Lent. You might even find specific guides that give you something to pray for each day of Lent. Another practice is to give more away. This could be money to church, charity, or even finding things that you want to donate to help others. The practice that we are most familiar with is fasting, which means to abstain from something. Back in the early days of fasting, you were expected to give up all rich foods, like eggs, milk, butter, etc., but now people typically give up one thing or fast on certain days like Fridays.
One of my favorite experiences was when Nathan and I specifically choose to only have water at restaurants during Lent. We wanted to start that practice personally, but we chose to donate the money we would have spent on soft drinks on helping others. At the end of Lent, we added up all of the places that we abstained from purchasing a soda, and we donated the money to an organization that helped build wells for those without clean water. If you decide to abstain from something, I encourage you to add in a component of almsgiving so that you can provide something for others.
At church, we have made up a guide to help you read through the Gospel of Matthew during Lent. This book will be our focus during Lent, so we encourage you to read through it. Matthew is only 28 chapters long, so it is a doable read, even if you miss a few days. The children were handed mini buckets and a calendar encouraging them to focus on clean water during Lent, and each day they have a specific task to do, which includes adding a coin to their bucket. At the end of Lent, we will pool our money together to provide clean water to those in need.
I hope Lent is a blessing to you and to others.