Thu | May 6, 2021

Give up gossiping for Lent

Published:Sunday | February 28, 2021 | 12:20 AM

The Lenten period, which spans from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday and is said to be an acknowledgement of Jesus’ over a month-long fast many years ago, is commonly recognised on an individual basis.

During this time, Christians set aside 40 days to remember His sacrifice and to prepare for the celebration of His Resurrection.

Followers reflect on a personal level what the period means to them and, based on said reflection, often decide to ‘give up’ on habits that they usually find enjoyable.

In addition to the sacrifice of abstinence or deprivation, the season is also used to draw closer to God, as Jesus during His fast.

Though highly individual, Lent provides an opportunity to strengthen familial bonds as the heart is focused on what matters most during the period.

REAL FOCUS for LENT

“When we celebrate Lent as a family, it’s so important that we don’t focus simply on what we’re giving up, but that our real focus is on giving glory to God and filling ourselves with what we need most: God’s love, truth, and presence in our lives,” shared Counsellor Beth Hoff in her blog post, where she shared meaningful ways to celebrate Lent as a family.

While she shared that it is not recommended to do a full fast with young children, the mother noted that a specific type of food can be decided on.

“…Like dessert or chips or candy or something that is not vital to their nutrition needs. In the Catholic tradition, people fast meat on Fridays during Lent. Consider doing a once-a-week fast, such as a vegetarian Monday or no sweets on Fridays.

“Growing in popularity is this whole idea of fasting negativity. Whether that’s complaining, arguing, gossiping, or any form of negativity you can think of, this is a great choice to help your family shift their focus to kindness and gratitude as we remember Jesus and choose to become more like him,” she wrote, adding that families can consider doing a kindness challenge where they agree that each negative action will be replaced with two positive comments.

Hoff suggested donating items owned and loved, such as toys and clothes, and restricting screen time, replacing it with activities that focus on loving God as other great options to practise restraint as a family.

She wrote, “Whether you choose to do 10 minutes a day or an hour once a week, one of the best things you can do with your family during Lent is to spend time with God together. You can do a time of worship, read the Bible together, talk about Jesus, share testimonies, pray together, or a combination of all of the above.”