Fat Tuesday is here once again. The drinks will flow…the beads will fly…the shirts will rise…the people will cheer…It’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans and across the country. The biggest, baddest party of the year.
A funny thing happened when it comes to the meaning BEHIND all the fun…What you say? There is a reason for a gigantic party in the middle of the week in early March? Everybody knows Mardi Gras, but few are left who know why it is the party is happening in the first place. As is the norm in this 21st century, our cultural icons remain in place, but they have been stripped of their soul. One by one the heart and soul gets sucked out, and all that is left is the thin outer shell…the shallowness…and what was once of significance, is rendered just ridiculous and demeaning. There is a mighty and nobel reason behind the “feast” that is Fat Tuesday. Yet, 99.9% of those waking up on Wednesday morning in New Orleans with their head going ding-dong, will have no idea why they just did all that to their bodies.
Let me provide some righteous New Orleans sounds for you while you finish consuming this article.
What is the day after Fat Tuesday? Wednesday naturally, but not just any Wednesday…it’s Ash Wednesday. The start of Lent. Lent? That’s a funny word. Yes Lent, a 40 day period of sacrifice, repentance and reflection leading up to the observation of the day the King of Kings defeated death…Easter Sunday. He is risen. He is risen indeed.
Fat Tuesday is a day of celebration…a day to feast and revel in all of the blessings God has provided. We do this because the next day we begin our fast. A spiritual fast. A cleansing and a renewal. The period is inspired from the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness facing temptation from Satan. We are attempting to emulate his quest. A far cry from it we are, yet the intention is pure and good. Some choose to “give up” certain things of importance to them. I myself am giving up red meat. Woohoo…big deal. But hey…I eat A LOT of red meat. Not only will the cow population breathe a little easier for 40 days, but my body will probably thank me as well. No steaks…no burgers…no ground beef…but still, that is just a tiny symbolic gesture on my part to show the Lord I am acknowledging all that he has done so that we may have eternal life.
Enjoy Fat Tuesday and the upcoming season of Lent. What a tremendous time of deep spiritual satisfaction. God wants you to be joyful and embrace life at it’s fullest…so get out there and do just that…but when Wednesday morning comes, don’t let the party be over. It has only just begun.