Last night marked the beginning. It was Ash Wednesday and at the service last night we marked the beginning of Lent. Lent is emotional for me. I think its the time of the church year that I actually get the most out of. Without the stress of the holidays I can actually focus on repentance, sacrifice, the real meaning of Jesus' life, and ultimately the amazing gift that we receive. That and I'm pregnant so I'm just one hot emotional mess these days.
When we went up I nearly cried watching pastor mark the sign of the cross in ashes on Marie's tiny forehead. A sign of repentance, and the reminder that we are so fragile in this world. "You are dust, and to dust you shall return". It makes me feel incredibly grateful for the gift of my Savior's. Sometimes, not so much for myself but for the fact that He loves Josie and Marie so much He gave His life for them. Now if I do my part as a parent, and raise them to know and love Christ, they shall have eternal life. It makes you want to hit your knees doesn't it?
Lent is also about recognizing and appreciating Jesus sacrifice. It is traditional that you give something up, or do something for others during this time. This year, I am making a big sacrifice. It's something that I know I will see benefit from and though I don't' really want to, it's something I feel compelled to do. This year I am going to give. up. online. shopping.
Let me explain the significance of this. We live in Po-dunk No-where. This is a farming community. There is no place to buy size woman's size 11 shoes, or Easter dresses, or t-shirt sheets, or really fluffy bath towels. It's not that there are not stores in our town, it's just that they are there to provide work boots, Wall jackets, coveralls and things of that practical nature. I am at least 150 miles from the nearest Gap or Target. As a result, I buy almost everything online. Sometimes a little too much, because well, a bargain is a bargain and I hate to miss out on that. So, I'm quitting. I am giving it up. The money I'll save will go toward something good, though I haven't decided what yet.
This is going to be hard... but I know I'm not alone. Besides, look at Jesus. Compared to Him it sounds a little petty to whine about giving up my shopping habit.
Also, I look forward to this season. To the opportunity to know my Lord better, to know the story better, and the hope (oh the HOPE!) that this offers to us all.
I know that not all detonations celebrate Lent the same. As we are Lutheran the focus of Lent is a time to focus on the suffering of Christ, and also a time to reflect on our own Baptism and what it means to live your life as a child of God. What are you giving up for Lent? How do you observe this time of year?