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by Sally Tackie

What is sacrifice? Is it giving something up or giving something to help others?

Although Lent is not here yet, I have been thinking about what it means. To some it is a period of reflection, to some a period of denying themselves particular food or drink. While I do not claim to know the only or right way to observe Lent, as it approaches I ponder as I do each year whether my path is sufficiently pleasing to God.

For years, I did not give anything up as I thought it was meaningless to give up chocolate or crisps which I rarely ate or alcohol which I never touch. You may choose to read a Christian book or commit to study a section of the Bible. I thought at some point that I would try to become a better person by being more patient, not easy. At Lent we think of Christ preparing himself for the ultimate sacrifice, should we not also really think of how we can make a sacrifice however small to honour him?

This year, I would like to recommend Christian Aid's "Count your Blessings" plan. This is a great way to make a difference to others in serious need. Each day you pray for a different aspect of your life you are grateful for and put a little money aside for that. Some days you are asked to pray only. At the end of Lent as we celebrate Christ's rising in glory, you count your blessings and send your donation in.

We sometimes neglect to really examine how much God has blessed us with and this is a very easy way to do so. There is also a children's plan.

We should not wait for Lent next year to consider what sacrifice means, we should do this each day with those we come in contact with. Whether a neighbour who would like a chat, a family in need or a colleague who needs someone to listen to them for a while. It is not all about money, we can give a little of our blessings to others.

Giving to others when we celebrate an occasion like a birthday or anniversary is a great way to share our blessings.

The best sacrifice is spending time in thanksgiving for our blessings and earnest prayer for others as God always listens to sincere prayer.What will you sacrifice this Lent?