This is the 2nd year I'm giving it up for lent. I'm not the type of person who likes to do things "just because", that mindset drives me freaking nuts. I want to know why I should do something & do because I want to. So don't feel bad for me, no one's twisting my arm.
(So why the heck are you doing this? And isn't Lent supposed to be 40 days?)
Ah, all good questions. Wikipedia has the answer to everything, let's ask...
Lent, in Christian tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Well that sounds just terrible. Look, I can't tell you why other people give up things for lent. All I can do is tell you how my heart understands it. At Christmas time I totally prepare & get into "the Christmas spirit" by blasting carols all day & decorating cookies. Before my friends birthdays I make a point to plan & go shopping or making a gift in advance. We prepare for the big stuff, it help me to wrap my mind around something if I can plan in advance. And Easter is big... it's tough & emotional & I need to be in the right mindset to give it due credit.
So what does a nice cold beer have to do with preparation for Easter? Not a whole lot, but that's not entirely the point. How can I explain this? If someone's important to you, don't you want to spend time with them or at least call to say hi & I'm thinking of you? Doesn't it help the relationship to do that as frequently as you think about it? THAT's what I'm trying to to here. Every time I'm out with my friends & order a soda rather than a beer, I think about why I don't have that beer. Just a little check-in to say "Hi. I love you. Thanks for everything you do." It also kind of invites God in on time that I otherwise probably wouldn't have him on my mind at all.
So by the time it's Good Friday (& I'm a teary / snotty mess) & then Easter (probably teary again but with less snot) I know we're on good terms & the relationship is strong & we can remember this tough stuff together. It's just a gesture really.
So other people might like the "suffering with" perspective or maybe just because it's tradition... but I wouldn't do 52 of fasting anything for novelty. But that's just me. Oh & the 52 days vs. 40... apparently people take Sundays off! haha What? I don't think that's a good idea unless we want to make Hangover Monday a new tradition. Nah, go hardcore or go home, right? *gulp* Right.