Today is Ash Wednesday. Christians begin the season of Lent today, which is intended to be a solemn time during which we are to be reminded of our sinful nature and Christ's ultimate sacrifice for our salvation.
I am a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. There is a great explanation of Lent on the organization's Web site, here.
Often when we think of Lent we think of the practice of giving something up for 40 days, but we forget the next step of focusing on God and praying when the urge to use or eat or do the "thing" comes around. Many of us also fail to realize that Lent can also be a season of adding to our lives - getting up earlier and adding some Bible study into our morning routine; adding random acts of kindness to our daily to-do lists; adding more time focused on our children each day, or more time in quiet prayer.
I have committed to my own sacrifices this year involving much less junk food, much less computer time, and much more time focused on my children. I'm certain it will take lots of focus on my part and plenty of God's grace to get me through the next 40 days. Fortunately He's got enough to go around.