LL Barkat of Seedlings in Stone (and various other places) wrote an excellent post about bidding adieu to our all-you-can-eat buffets (metaphorically speaking, as well as literally). I liked it. I agree with her. I think she's absolutely right that we get lost in our abundance of options, and that there's so much to choose from that we can't even differentiate ourselves as people anymore. (Well, I don't know that that's all she was saying, but that was one of the things I got out of it.)
But I really do like Pancake Day (aka, more seriously, Shrove Tuesday). And I forgot about it until I read Mariam's blog. Pancake Day is kind of about all-you-can-eat. Purportedly, the tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday was instituted (at least in Britain--maybe in other parts of Europe, too) in order to get rid of butter and fat before the fast of Lent. Now my British friends buy more of the stuff on that day so they can have parties where they make loads of crepe-like pancakes with a multitude of topping options. Last year I actually remembered Pancake Day ahead of time and had a party like that here. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, in spite of their all appearing somewhat bemused. I love it.
I don't think I'd love it if it happened all the time. I might think I needed it, but I wouldn't be happy and celebratory and grateful for pancakes if I feasted on them every night. I don't think gluttony is worth it. But it is nice to have a party on occasion.
This is one of the things I like about God as He is depicted in the Bible. He seems, in spite of moments of jealousy and wrath, to really like parties a lot. When He was giving the Israelites all those rules, He also told them to celebrate. I like His kind of parties, too, because they all mean something. It looks like usually they mean God is with His people and it's a joyous thing.
Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles to remember how God was with you when you lived in tents in the desert.
Celebrate the building of the Temple because it symbolises God's presence with you as a people.
Then He comes down here in person and there He is--at a party--when He does His first miracle. It's a wedding, actually, which is, as far as I can tell, the celebration of the relationship which becomes the holiest image we have for God's relationship with His people. (Celebrate weddings to remember how much God loves you and how close He wants to be to you.) He proceeds to use that image of a party (most often specifically a wedding) in a lot of His parables.
I like Lent, too, this imminent season of austerity. I need to remember to pare down--to remember Who I am dependent on. But I'm really glad that Jesus told His cousin's disciples that while He was around, His followers did not need to fast. I'm glad that there's room in the Kingdom of God for self-discipline, self-denial, and also abundance.