My kids asked me what I was going to give up for Lent.
I said, “Cigarettes.”
My kids said, “But Dad, you don’t smoke.”
“True and I’m not going to start during Lent.”
So giving something up seems to be the thing to do during Lent.
By most accounts, the forty days of Lent reflect the forty days of fasting Jesus endured. Some accounts attribute the number forty to the number of hours Jesus laid in the tomb. Either way, forty seems like a nice Biblical number.
So for forty days, we give up something that we hold in high value and might hinder a life devoted to Christ. A self-sacrificial act as a small token of what Christ gave up for us.
So initially I decided that I was going to give up chocolate for lent. I really like chocolate. My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate. But I realize that I don’t eat chocolate all that frequently. So I would be giving up about five servings of chocolate over the Lenten period. Didn’t seem like that great of a sacrifice. I also felt like kind of a wimp giving up chocolate for Lent when others are giving up meat or swearing. I’ve done Daniel fasts in the past. For forty days before I got married, I gave up meat. But it was worth it because I was going to marry my lovely bride at the end of the forty days. I also lost 10 pounds.
So I settled on giving up coffee. I drink coffee pretty much every day. Most days two cups a day. It also looks right. A professor in a tweed blazer with a cup of coffee in one hand, maybe a pipe in the other hand. (But no cigarettes). Coffee definitely fits the criteria.
So that’s my final decision. No coffee, chocolate, and cigarettes during Lent. My hands tremble from caffeine withdraw as I type this final sentence. I need to have some Coke Zero this afternoon.