For some, Lent is giving up something that is important to them for 40 days. This could be a food, an activity, etc. For others, it is a time to help others, and a time to grow closer to God through prayer, Bible study and fasting. The 40 days represents the 40 days that Christ wandered and was tempted in the wilderness before He began His public minstry. This challenge of giving something up reminds us of the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf when He gave up everything and came to the earth to give His very life for us on the cross. 40 seems to be a significant number and an optimal amount of time for life-change to take place. Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai and 40 years in the wilderness, Noah spent 40 days and nights floating on the water, etc. Sundays, are a day of feasting and remembering the beauty and blessings of God. The sacrifices of things that have become a "love" for us should naturally re-open our eyes to the greatness of God and lead us back to a spirit of thanksgiving!
So what does this look like for us this year...our first Lent? First, we are foregoing carbonated beverages. For those of you who know me, I am addicted to Pepsi, so this is going to be a big one for me. I know it will be beneficial healthwise for all of us, but it won't be easy. :) We are also going to try to give up junk food/sweets and eat healthier in the evenings when we are all home. This also means no fast-food! Day 1 and my eyes have already been opened to my lack of self-control. That is another thing Lent is good for. I am realizing areas in my life that need some changing! :) We are going to try to incorporate some meals with rice, beans, and tortillas...some things that our sponsored children in India and Africa might be having for supper. This will be a great reminder for us to pray for them and write them. Another great suggestion by Chris Seay is to take the money you would have spent on eating out during the 40 days of Lent and give it to a ministry that works with those in poverty, or help a family in need!
This leads me to the last thing we are doing this year and I invite you all to check it out at Chris's web site. He has a book called "A Place at the Table - 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor," and it gives 40 devotionals and prayers requests for children in countries all over the world. This is designed to help you during the days of Lent to recapture a glimpse of our Saviour and His story of rescue and redemption. What an awesome way to prepare our hearts as we head into the Easter season!