The movie Chocolat tells the story of a beautiful young woman and her daughter who move to a small French village just before Easter and set up a new chocolate shop directly across the street from the church.
The mayor of the village, a very pious man, is appalled that a single mother would want to entice the community’s fine Catholic citizens with so pleasurable a thing as chocolate during Lent– a time of year when they should be denying themselves pleasure.
In an attempt to reconcile the two, the young priest from the village church delivers a Sunday message in which he suggests to his congregation that rather than give something up for Lent they embrace something new. They might befriend a new person or be open-minded enough to accept a new idea.
I wonder if we couldn’t benefit the most by combining the ‘giving up’ and ’embracing something new’ aspects of Lent.
What if we……..
Gave up jealousy and joyfully celebrated the success of others
Gave up holding grudges and forgave those who have wronged us
Gave up worrying about our health and started doing something to improve it
Gave up gossiping and looked for positive things to say about people
Gave up losing our temper so quickly and tried to practice more patience even with the most frustrating people in our lives
Gave up being self-centered and thought about what we could do to help someone else
Gave up expecting the worst and hoped for the best
Gave up wishing our lives could be different or better and took steps to make that happen
Gave up__________ and ___________
This approach could have consequences. Researchers have found it only takes six weeks to establish a new habit. Lent, which lasts for forty days is just about that long. Who knows? If we do give up some negatives and embrace more positive alternatives for Lent we might just change our lives forever.