prepare ye the way...

Lent begins on February 17 this year. As I get older this season of the church year becomes more important to me. I have grown in understanding that we must experience the Passion of Christ in order to celebrate the Resurrection. There is darkness before the dawn.

This year I wanted to make sure that I thought about how to honor Christ's sacrifice during this Lenten season. I have tried in recent years to offer both a spiritual and physical sacrifice. One year I gave up meat and complaining which lead to the longest six weeks of my life and my husbands. So everything has to be in balance. The idea is to offer any of my discomfort up as a gift to my Lord. Last year I did The Love Dare. You wouldn't think that loving your husband and making little sacrifices for him would be difficult. Well for a week maybe not. Six weeks in a row?? Let's just say it was a demanding challenge that I struggled with. However God in his infinite grace showered blessings upon my marriage and we are stronger for it.

Each Lent God has shown me something that either needed to be healed or a bad habit to be overcome. I try to be purposeful in choosing what I think God might be calling me to do so that the time is as fruitful (translation: challenging to my stubborn spirit placing me completely out of my comfort zone) as possible. My spiritual director has already given me the prayer aspect of my plan. I will be reading one chapter of Luke's Gospel every day and then meditating on God's word in silence for a minimum of 15 minutes. "Be still and know that I am God" is the spiritual theme of my Lent. It's the still part that terrifies me.

My next step was to consider the physical mortification to offer. So I have been praying about it for the last few days and this morning it became very clear to me. I knew what I needed to give up. Television. Well, television Monday through Saturday. Jerry and I have chosen four shows to DVR and that is ALL we will watch. Now before you think I am downright crazy, it really is possible to live without television. I know many who chose it as part of their daily lifestyle. I remember the first time my family did it together for Lent. I was in grade school and we were shocked that Mom and Daddy would make us do such a thing. I mean NO Scooby Doo! NO Brady Bunch! NO Different Strokes! How could this possibly be?

We were NOT very fond of the idea at all. So when my Mom would go run errands we would sneak into my parents bedroom and watch afternoon cartoons. Someone would keep watch for Mom and then we would all scurry like mice when she would pull into the driveway. I know, I know, we were challenging disobedient children. One time we didn't scurry fast enough and we got caught. So Daddy put the TV in the trunk of the car so we would not be tempted any further. We were then forced to actually play with one another. Shocking I know. I will never forget that Lent. Sundays were filled with games of Scrabble, Hearts, rounds of Candy Land and Sorry. God brought our family closer together that season and stories from that time are still told to this day.

Now I have a plan. I am sure God will be speaking rather loudly through my silence. I pray that I can accomplish both without caving. Six weeks is an awfully long time when you are changing your world.

So what are your plans for Lent? Are there special traditions you and your family observe? Leave a comment. I would love to see how others observe this penitential season.

Blessings and Grace,