Ash Wednesday: do you give something up — or give?

Ash Wednesday ashes

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of 40 days and 40 nights of Lent for many Christians. Do you give something up? Or what are you going to do?

The three things I’ve heard about Lent are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Fridays, carve out more time for daily prayer and do good works.

I get hungry on Ash Wednesday and Fridays, craving a fat juicy steak that I’d normally not care about. It’s a funny thing when you can’t have something, you fixate on it.

Second, I will find time to pray more. If you believe that prayers make a difference in this world, then more prayer should be easy.

Third, there is the part about doing good works. I think that is most difficult of all. Off the top of my head I don’t know what “good works” I can do. I will keep my eyes open and look around me to see small ways where I can make a difference. 

I’m going to Ash Wednesday services for the first time since the COVID shutdown. There’s a church less than two miles from our house that I’ve never been to that has four Ash Wednesday services.

I remember when my daughter was young she said she was giving up piano lessons for Lent. She hated piano. In the past, I’ve given up Facebook, Diet Coke, wine and chocolate. I haven’t decided what I’m going to give up or do this year. I’m working on it.

What you are doing for Lent? What good works are you going to do? Or what are you going to give up?

heartfelt note to a soldier from a gold star child
A heartfelt note from a gold star child to a soldier.

19 thoughts on “Ash Wednesday: do you give something up — or give?

  1. The Muslim month for fasting starts in April, determined by the lunar calendar. We fast for the entire month from pre-dawn to sunset. When we fast we don’t eat or drink anything. No smoking is allowed either. After the month of Ramadan, we celebrate Eid, a day of feasting.

  2. I’m going to try to not judge people. But then that’s my intention everyday and I still judge at least one person a day

  3. I haven’t really done anything for Lent in a long time. I remember when I was younger having to only eat fish on Fridays and only one meal a day. I like the pay it forward idea. For now I think I’ll give up my carb wraps and think about something I can do to help others. Thanks for the reminder.

    • I went to Ash Wednesday services for the first time since COVID. I was so happy to be there. Also, it was a church in my new state that is right up the street from us. It was refreshing to be out.

  4. Oh my, I love that your daughter gave up piano! That’s adorable. I usually try and find a book about an important spiritual topic to read and discuss with my daughters or a friend. I like to give up something physical like french fries or wine, and something to improve my thoughts like refrain from gossiping, judging, complaining, etc. I think this year it will be wine and whining! I like the combo. My daughter and I are going to read a memoir by Elizabeth Berg! Can’t wait. Hugs, C

  5. Anything that helps remind someone of the suffering and sacrifice Jesus endured in his life to reconcile us back to God is a good thing. I find some people do it as “fashionable” and not from their heart. Whether it’s self-denial or extra time spent in Scripture/prayer, the goal is to spend these 40 days doing something that deepens faith and understanding of what Easter accomplished for the world. Sadly, for some, Lent and Advent have become ritualized and little deep thought happens. I wish you a meaningful Lenten season!

    • Thank you. I am so excited this year because I attended church for the first time in two years. I look forward to being a part of our new community. I agree that Lent is about deepening our faith.

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