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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, which (growing up in non-denominational and typically non-traditional churches) has meant nothing to me for most of my life.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a time of preparation for the believer - through prayer, penitence, alms giving and self-denial - for the annual commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. (According to Wikipedia that is...)

I remember in high school going through a phase where I gave something up for Lent each year, but I think it's because I was dating a Catholic and living in the Midwest (where most folks are "Catholic" the way most Southerners are "Baptist"). I have always appreciated my upbringing in churches where I could understand what the preacher was talking about and enjoyed the music, but as an adult I find myself drawn to liturgical traditions like Advent and Lent. I love the way Christians all over the world are united by these traditions.

If you're my "friend" me on facebook (which you  totally should be by the way) you might have seen that I posted yesterday wondering if I should give up chocolate or facebook for Lent. B Daddy said, "chocolate isn't much of a sacrifice babe. Give up facebook." Such a man.

Chocolate is an indulgence for which I will drive to the store in the pouring rain at 9:30pm in my PJs. 'Nuff said.

Facebook is a link to the outside world for this stay-at-home mama. It's an easy way to feel connected to those near and far. But it's a black hole for me some days. I'll check obsessively out of boredom or for no reason at all. All those minutes add up. Minutes that I could better spend in prayer or in penitence.

After much thought I've decided to give up both. At first it was just the self-denial I was interested in (that seems to be the trendy and/or culturally acceptable part of Lent) but now I'm interested in the other facets of Lent as well. Giving up chocolate will truly be a huge self-denial for me. Giving up facebook will help me devote more time to prayer and repentance.

I'm excited! And scared. Yes I totally chowed down on brownies, ice cream sandwiches and downed some hot chocolate last night. (I'm nursing. Needed the calories.) But I denied myself the self-indulgence of a good-bye post on facebook. Out without a bang.

Here's to the next 40 days! Are you observing Lent in any way this year?

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