For many, Mardi Gras – “Fat Tuesday” – is an excuse for raucous indulgence, a “religious” excuse for that matter to eat and carouse and throw off restraint.
Some of the tradition of this “celebration” goes back to the Christian calendar, as a “last hurrah” before Lent, the traditional season of fasting that begins on Ash Wednesday. The deeper root however is pre-Christian and anchored in Roman Springtime festivals.
The popular assumption is that Christian faith is austere and even “anti-celebration” as if we have to whoop it up before the fun police of religion put the kibosh on our joy.
But far from it! On the last page of the Bible we see a picture of the destiny of the people of God. We’re in heaven, at a feast, a party of joy that lasts forever! Mardi Gras has become an excuse for indulgence, but it’s also an expression of a heart-cry buried in all of us for celebration, belonging, fun, and indulging in the joy of the Lord.