This year, Lent begins on March first. Lent is popularly known as a forty-day period on the Christian calendar when Christians are called upon to identify ourselves with the suffering of Christ. We are to seriously and soberly consider what it actually means to follow Jesus in all things. And so we are called upon to deny ourselves, give up our favorite snacks, and do away with whatever other luxuries we commit ourselves to fasting during Lent. It is a time for sackcloth and ashes, for repentance, mourning and sober self-reflection. But the truth is that there is much more to Lent that meets the eye. Lent is a time for us to draw close to God and offers us many blessings. These blessings are summed up well by William Arthur Ward:
“Fasting and Feasting”
Lent can be more than a time of fasting. It can also be a joyous season of feasting. Lent is a time to fast from certain things and to feast on others. It is a season to:
Fast from judging others; feast on Christ living in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on appreciation.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal hope through Jesus.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicions; feast on truth.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from thoughts of weakness; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.
Fast from everything that separates us from the Lord; feast on everything that draws us to the Lord.