Lent is the season a lot of people give things up as a sacrifice to God. I remember as a kid feeling like I should give something up too, but not really understanding the spiritual significance of it all. I thought Lent was about giving up meat and eating fish on Friday. I think people still observe that practice. The calendars we'd get from the church had little fishes on all the Fridays of lent to remind us.
As I began my own quest for God I realized that "to obey is better than sacrifice" and I didn't believe giving up some material thing or food for 40 days held much value. Especially as I saw religious people behaving and speaking unkindly. I didn't see the point and it seemed hypocritical.
Now though I see value in giving up things, but how much better it would be to give up things like gossip, greed, bitterness, judging, unforgiveness, ungratefulness, hate, unkind words, prejudice....
I now believe the purpose of fasting is to get into the rhythm of a behavior that could be continued well past the initial 40 days. To make us strong. To begin a habit that could be part of our lives as the days go forward. Practice. Getting rid of some garbage in our life and replacing it with something good.
Jesus knew the hardest journey ever experienced was ahead of him and he needed all the spiritual strength in the universe to be available to him. So he could obey his Father.
I wish that was stressed more.....
Anything we do out of love in the right spirit is a pleasing sacrifice to God. Anything less is of little value.