Normally, as a pastor in a non-liturgical tradition, I have not ever made too much of the season of the church year in which we find ourselves presently – Lent. But at its core, Lent is the holiday season of preparation for the sacrifice and ultimate victory of Christ over sin and over death. It is the season where we as followers of Christ attempt to draw closer to Christ by sacrificing the indulging in those things which may stand between us and Christ. It is a time for us to consider what we should give up for a season, since Christ gave up his whole life for us.
For the past four years, Stephen Smith has been tracking Twitter to get a picture of what people say they are giving up for Lent. It’s a fascinating glimpse into American spirituality. Here’s the top ten list (in order) of things Americans say they gave up for Lent: Twitter, chocolate, swearing, alcohol, soda, Facebook, fast food, sex, sweets, and meat. The top 100 list also included some interesting items which got votes on this list. People also said that for Lent they would give up school, you, religion, stuff, breathing, Starbucks, sarcasm, men, being mean, being nice, and yes, even Lent.
You know, in reality, Lent should not be remembered as a time of giving up anything. Our thoughts at this time of the year should not be about giving up things in order to draw closer to Christ, but to draw closer to Christ in order to be more like Christ. Now you may say that I am just talking semantics, but there is a great difference in what we prioritize here. God calls you and me to become more and more like Jesus Christ every day we are on earth. Our number one desire should be to become more intimate with Him with each passing moment.