Giving Up Sacrifice for Lent?

I’ve never “given up” anything for Lent before. It wasn’t part of my religious tradition in the churches of Christ I’ve attended. Over the years, I’ve heard – and even made – jokes about giving up watermelons for Lent (I don’t like them and they’re not in season); the tragedy of folks who gave up chocolate just before Girl Scout cookie delivery time and such.

I don’t know why. I’ve fasted with prayer several times before, especially when Angi and I were trying to adopt and were blessed with our two beautiful children.

But this year I felt challenged by some fellow bloggers and article-writers who have made a Lenten fast part of their heritage, Catholic or otherwise, and have been blessed by it.

This year I stopped drinking soft drinks at the beginning of the Lenten season. That’s forty days and six Sundays without the bubbly stuff. It may seem silly or pointless or even easy for some, but it started out to be really difficult for me.

I love Mountain Dew. I work on a campus that has an arrangement with Pepsi-Cola, and there are Mountain Dew vending machines everywhere.

I promised myself early on (myself; not God – I wasn’t sure I could go through with it!) that I’d drink only coffee, tea, water, milk or juice until Easter. Each time I felt that insatiable craving for Mountain Dew, I would pause to be thankful – if for nothing else, for the luxury of living surrounded by a veritable sea of soft drinks!

As the fast progressed, I found plenty of other things to be thankful for. And I found the craving was diminishing. After a while, I occasionally even forgot to take that moment out for thanksgiving. Oops!

I knew it wouldn’t be a proper fast, though, if I didn’t celebrate it in the spirit of Isaiah 58:1-7. So I also resolved to save the coins I would have plugged into those vending machines, and instead plug them into a fundraising can for Riley’s Warriors. It may not be quite the same as God’s admonition through Isaiah to share food with the hungry, but it does benefit families with special-needs children, giving them a free, much-needed “day off” from that intensive care through qualified specialists and caregivers. Many parents of such children spend all they have – money, time, energy, love, enthusiasm – providing that care 24/7, and they deserve a break.

My children noticed my Lenten fast right away. They know I don’t like iced tea very much, yet I was drinking it a lot. So when they asked, I told them what it was all about.

I told them that there isn’t any way I can sacrifice enough to repay the debt Jesus paid on a Friday before Easter … but this is a way that helps others a little, and helps me remember – a lot, and often.

I’ve been faithful to the fast. I don’t know if I could have been as faithful if I had tried to fast like my blogging buddy Travis Stanley, who gave up blogging. And he has been faithful, to the point that I haven’t even seen him comment on others’ blogs for the whole season.

That just might have been too much of a sacrifice to ask of myself.

Maybe next year.

Because I’ve been very blessed by this fast. I don’t see myself giving up sacrifice for Lent any more.

And I’m thankful, more than anything else, that Jesus didn’t.

8 thoughts on “Giving Up Sacrifice for Lent?

  1. Your witness was powerful enough for me to commit to join you next year. Hold me accountable, and I will hold you accountable to remind me! 🙂 I look forward to it, seriously. Thanks for sharing, and for the encouragement to join in. Count me in, brother!

  2. Just remember that Lent ends in a feast! Lent is not about giving things up, but devoting yourself to God. I hope that giving up soft drinks has helpe you to be more devoted to God!

  3. I like you had never done it before this year. I started a diet at the end of January and had already given up most of my favorite foods. So I chose to give up buying clothing for myself. This is harder than you think, but ended up being easier for me than I thought. But I like dante ideal that it ends with a feast!! I will be shopping on line next week!!

  4. The feast will not go unobserved in the Brenton household! I will definitely imbibe of the Dew from the Mountain … though I’ll probably start with the caffeine-free kind so I don’t start running my cardio system on 220 volts instead of 110.Because there’s chocolate in them thar eggs, too … and we always seem to have an overabundance of them after our two kids have finished their hunt.In fact (grossness warning) last weekend I just found a sealed plastic bag among our Easter stuff containing unconsumed chocolate and jelly beans from last year ….

  5. Thanks for the open window into your preparation for Easter. I?m not sure why, but holidays no longer hold the extraordinary meaning for me that they once did. Maybe observing a ritual beforehand would help me set a day apart. On the other hand, if I?m willing to give up something, why wait? I might as well devote today.H-mm. Depriving myself of anticipation may be the clue to my dysfunction.

  6. You know, count me in too. I am with David, I have never fasted from anything before. If it deepens my dependence on the Lord, it was well worth it. Maybe it will help me remember that its NOT about me. I am on board with you gents next year.

  7. Thanks for the kind words. Ooo, nice new look for blogger’s comment section. Apparently they’ve been doing some improvement while I’ve been away.Glad to hear you celebrated Lent. I gave up soft drinks for good a while back. My wife can’t have them and I just decided to not have them. Our Dr. says, “Empty calories.”Thanks again and praise God he has risen!

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