Today is what is commonly known as "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. For those of you from a non-liturgical background, this may all seem a bit foreign. I was raised in that type of background, but have learned a lot in the past few years.
As I've said in previous posts, too many people have such an inaccurate view of Lent, what it means, and what it's all about. The simplified explanation is this: We spend 40 days (not counting Sundays) of fasting and abstinence, as we imitate the 40 days of fasting Christ spent in the wilderness. These 40 days should be used to prepare our hearts for Holy Week, Good Friday, and, ultimately, EASTER! The whole idea of "giving up" something for Lent is this: anything that is a distraction, stumbling block, or barrier between my Lord and me is something that needs to go! These are 40 days that should be used for reflection and drawing closer and closer to God. It's not like making a New Year's resolution. It's all about growing into a deeper relationship with the God who gave His Son to die for me, and who raised Him from the dead to give me victory over death and sin!
Some dread this time of year. It is actually a time to be embraced! God loves us and so desires for us to have more intimate communion with Him. I have several friends who do not attend liturgical churches, but still go through Lenten practices for this very reason.
God bless us all, and give us a wonderful Lent.