Now, of course, that is often followed by the hoarding of chocolate (to be broken out the minute someone somewhere starts singing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today"), the DVRing of "Scandal" (prompting binge watching all day April 5th), or the luxury of sleeping in on April 6th (because I earned it).
If I understand things (and in reality I seldom seem to) the original thought behind sacrificing during Lent had to do with our relationship with God. By feeling the pang that comes with not having something we like, it was thought we could in some small way understand the sacrifice of Jesus. I will admit, that doesn't appear to be likely: it is difficult for me to analogize my living with no caffeine with Jesus being killed for doing love.
Another early idea around Lenten sacrifice was that, by removing one aspect of our life, we could insert another more uplifting aspect: by not watching "Scandal" there would be time for meditation, or prayer. That makes more sense to me, though the real crux would be in actually DOING that.
Around here we advocate for what we call "ADD-Lent" (get it?); the sacrifice lies in adding a spiritual discipline to our life for the 6 weeks of Lent, with the hope that it becomes a habit that stays around after the lilies are taken off the chancel.
So I offer this as something to ponder as Lent creeps up on us: Do. Something. Whether it's taking away, or adding - just do SOMETHING. Something that breaks through the darkness of February. Something that changes the life of another. Something that is not as much about losing those last 10 pounds as it is about developing a deeper relationship with our Creator. Something that doesn't get a medal pinned on us but gets us in touch with those outside our Comfort Zone. Something that brings about justice, not self satisfaction.
Because, Lent is not about us.