After the celebration of Fat Tuesday last evening, today we receive the ashes of Palm Sunday. As we prepare for our day, I asked my children to not think about what they will “give up” for Lent, but what they can add. It’s been my experience that giving something up, something you really love, doesn’t necessarily make your heart grow stronger for the cause with which you gave it up.
No. For us, we always think about what we can add. Usually, adding Bible study, reading, contemplation as part of our morning routine. However, this year I’m challenging myself, and my children, to add something we love to our day. Our daily activity must be something we love, we must do it daily, and it can’t take more than 5-10 minutes. You may ask, “What is the significance of so little time?” or “How does this relate to your faith?” and the answer is simple:
In doing what we love, with deliberance — and possibly exuberance — we will know this time has been earmarked because of Lent. Our gratitude and thankfulness for taking the time, energy, and love to mindfully focus on our passions is a pleasure. Our pleasure for our indulgence of following our passions will allow us more space to love God more.
I am not the only one who sees the beauty in focusing on what we love, including our love of God.
However, people who give things up for Lent are always going to feel cleansed and renewed by this ritual. I cannot deny the freedom of giving something up — allowing myself the freedom to subtract rather than add. If this is your inclination, by all means – we are blessed to worship in our own ways.
As I gather my boys to attend Ash Wednesday service, I send you the permission to love and reflect in what way brings you closer to God this season.