Giving it Up

Daily Bible readings from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day

Maggi Dawn

Currently out of print £7.99


The idea of 'giving something up for Lent' is widely known and discussed today - yet how many know that the ancient discipline of the Lenten fast had several purposes? It was designed as a reminder of our daily dependence on God for all our needs, to draw us closer to God in prayer, to reconnect with the idea of community, and to help us follow Christ's journey through the wilderness and on to Jerusalem. How many of us simply abstain from some treat or other for a few weeks and fail to engage with this deeper meaning of Lent?

This book shows how Lent can be a time for exploring a different kind of 'giving up', one that can transform our lives. If we are to draw closer to God, we have to be willing to give up some of our entrenched ideas about him, in order to see him more clearly. In a series of daily studies, Maggi Dawn shows how, throughout Scripture, people were radically changed by encountering the true God. If we follow their examples, we can allow the Holy Spirit to shed his light on our ideas of God that are too harsh, too small, too fragile, or too stern. Then God will graciously reveal himself to us and bring us to an Easter joy that is richer and more profound than ever before.

Contents include:

  • Introduction
  • Section 1: Giving up (Ash Wednesday to Saturday)
  • Section 2: Jesus in the wilderness and beyond (First week of Lent)
  • Section 3: Other wildernesses (Second week of Lent)
  • Section 4: Changing perceptions (Third week of Lent)
  • Section 5: Changing communities (Fourth week of Lent)
  • Section 6: Changing your mind (Fifth week of Lent)
  • Sections 7: 'The end of all our exploring' (Holy Week)
  • Easter Sunday

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Author info

Maggi Dawn is an author and theologian, currently based at Yale University, where she is Dean of Marquand Chapel and Associate Professor of Theology and Literature in the Divinity School. She is the author of Beginnings and Endings (BRF, 2007) and Giving it Up (BRF, 2010). She writes a blog at:


From Margaret James

At the beginning of Lent I was browsing through the book titles on your website and saw Maggi Dawn's "Giving it up". A very strong inner compulsion made me order it, and what a joy it has been. In the past I have given up the "usual" things, such as chocolates or alcohol, for Lent, and have proved I have the willpower to do this but it has done nothing for my faith. This year, having journeyed through Lent with Maggi Dawn, I now have a much deeper understanding of the readings and stories leading up to Easter Day, and of the relevance of the Old Testament prophesies. Maggi's commentaries are full of common sense though they are also thought-provoking, and her faith comes through loud and clear and is a wonderful inspiration. I will be reading the book again next year and am sure I will gain an even more from it. Thank you!

A review by Caroline Hansen:

I have found Maggi Dawn's book both enjoyable and thought provoking. It fulfils its claim to explore a different kind of 'giving up' and widens the reader's horizons. I would definitely recommend it.

A review by Marion Cheel

I have been reading a book at Lent time for some 30 years now in order not necessarily to give anything up like my time but to discipline myself to follow the season of Lent more closely and to prepare myself for the joy of Easter Day.

I can honestly say I have never read such an excellent Lent book as Maggi Dawn's Giving it Up. The title in itself drew me to the book as I was both struggling to think of what I could give up for Lent and in what way would it improve my walk with the Lord or deepen both my relationship with God and my Spirituality.

From the Introduction through to Easter Day I have found the book utterly compelling reading and each day I couldn't wait to see where Maggi was leading our thinking next. I particularly liked the simplicity of her style of writing which I found easy to follow and for me she has opened up many familiar Bible stories and the characters which appeared in these stories. I'd read them before but in this book she puts a fresh slant on them and both her description of Jesus' thoughts and words and those of His disciples and people that He met on His way led me into a new and deeper understanding of these stories and also I'm sure have given me a new understanding of God and given me a deeper knowledge of Lent and subsequently Jesus entry into Jerusalem, the events of Holy Week culminating into Maundy Thursday, Good Friday right up to Easter Day.

I was humbled and horrified at the events of Good Friday in a way I haven't been for a long time. Her description of the emptiness of Easter Saturday and the feeling of absolute devastation at the separation from God was awesome and yet there was for me and all of us the thought of the joy that awaited us on Easter Day! Indeed life will never be the same again for me with these new insights into the events from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day.

I have on this occasion read the book on my own but hopefully will have the opportunity in the future to take it to a group that I co-lead. I was challenged by the questions that Maggie set at the end of each week and it would be both good and helpful to have discussion in a Group about these. Once again an excellent book which I shall recommend to many in the future to read from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day.

A review by Michael Young:

I have been reading The Rev'd Maggi Dawn's book daily, in conjunction with the St Alban's Diocese Lent Course for 2010 'Words of Challenge, Words of Life'.

The enlightening words and observations of the author, concerning Jesus as described in her daily texts, are both reassuring and challenging. When I reach Easter Day in her company I will want to keep her book by my side for a long time to come.

A review by Philip Cook:

Maggi Dawn's 'Giving it Up' is a profound devotional work. It is scholarly, accessible, challenging, informative, and inspiring. Maggi's book has enriched my Lenten journey.

A review by Cilla Diggle

This was a really good Lent book, upbeat, positive and life-affirming. It comes at ideas from a different angle and I found it truly encouraging.

I recognised her description of the older idea of the fast as an activity of the whole community as I have observed this with interest in a Muslim country during Ramadan and was surprised that she make no reference to the fact that muslims continue to observe the fast.

I loved the Easter Day chapter which gave the sense of beginning rather than end and incidentally was reminded of celebrating the first day of Eid with my (non-muslim) family with a picnic breakfast on the beach.

A review by Rod Montague

My wife and I both enjoyed a very readable and thought provoking book giving fresh insight to some familiar Lenten readings. We now look forward to reading Maggi Dawn's Advent publication.

From The Good Bookstall - February 2010

Many people will give something up for Lent, chocolate, cakes, coffee, alcohol or some other treat. Some even go vegetarian for Lent. Many people though, even in the Church, see this as a time for dieting rather than the traditional time of preparation for Easter. In Giving It Up Maggie Dawn takes us afresh through the Easter story and challenges us to give up more than chocolate and to think about what we are giving up. In a time of recession there are things we could give up that cost little but are of tremendous value, by calling us to think in these terms Maggie Dawn helps us rediscover the heart of Lent and the message of Easter.

Book details

  • ISBN: 9781841016801
  • Published: 20 November 2009
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
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