Why I Give Up Something for Lent

As a Christian, I observe the Lenten season each spring. Like many, I choose to make a customary sacrifice during the 40 days (46 including Sundays). Since I was 12 years old, I have given up soda every Lent. And I'm happy to do it. Here's why...

For Catholics and Protestants, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends Holy Thursday (Last Supper). The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of Easter through prayer, repentance, and self-denial. Many observers fast, refrain from meat on Fridays, donate quarters, attend services on Sundays and Wednesdays, place a rock in their shoes, or sacrifice a luxury.

I've always been a fan of Coca-Cola. I love the fizz and the boost of caffeine in the afternoon. It's a treat that I indulge moderately at parties or at the office where soda is a perk in the kitchen.

Each year, I've given up all soda during the period of Lent and have greatly missed it. I crave it in the afternoons and I think about it at least a half dozen times a week. This sacrifice reminds me that the current period of time is Lent. It causes me to eagerly look forward to Easter. And that is one reason I like to give up soda.

I'm not under any illusion. I acknowledge that soda is unhealthy. Soda serves ~140 empty calories from sugar with no nutritional value. There is absolutely no fiber, no vitamins, no minerals. No redeeming value at all. The amount of high fructose corn syrup equates to 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar. Apparently Coke is great for cleaning toilets and chalkboards, which means I can't imagine what it does to our insides. I like to think that Lent is also about making sacrifices to improve your mental, spiritual, or physical health. And that is another reason I like to give up soda.

Easter Sunday my family gets together for a beautiful Sunday dinner. We share baskets of chocolates for the kids and the host always supplies me with a nice tall glass of Coke! Oh what a sweet first sip it is. Often I drink so much I get a bit of a sugar high that day. I thoroughly enjoy the sweet taste that I had given up for 6 weeks. I enjoy Easter even more. And that is the ultimate reason why I like to give up soda.

Life is short, why not challenge yourself once a year?