Ash Wednesday

25446120_10156169087488627_7353441604527499735_n    Today is Ash Wednesday the beginning of the Lent Season which is forty days between now and Easter Sunday, except that each Sunday in the season of lent in not counted. Ashes is a reminder that we are dust, and to dust we shall return, and repent, and believe in the gospel. Ashes were an ancient symbol of our humanity. In Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. On the first day of lent, we come before God recognizing our humanity and repenting of our sins. Lent leads to Easter the day we celebrate that though our bodies are flawed, a day of resurrection will come when we lived in the presence of God forever. On Ash Wednesday we go to church remembering who we are, with the hope of who we can become. 

Why Ashes? In Jewish and Christian history, ashes are a sign of mortality and repentance. Morality, because when we die, our bodies eventually decompose and we become dust/dirt/ash/Repentance because long ago when people felt remorse for something they did, they would put ashes on their head and wear “sackcloth” to remind them that sin is pretty uncomfortable and leads to a sort of death of the spirit. This was their way of confessing their sins and asking for forgiveness.

Where do the ashes come from? On what we now call Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem while people waved and cheered him on. Less then a week later, Jesus would be killed. The palms that were waved in joy became ashes of sorrow. We get the ashes for Ash Wednesday by saving the psalms from Palm Sunday, burning them, and mixing them with a little oil. It’s symbolic.

What Do Christians do with ashes? At a service which is held on Ash Wednesday people are invited to come forward in the service and a pastor or priest make a small cross of their forehead by smudging the ashes. While the ashes remind us of mortality and sin, the cross reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection (life after death) and forgiveness. It’s a powerful, non-verbal way that we can experience God’s forgiveness and renewal as we return to Jesus.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

 

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The White Christmas Stocking

15326559_1498968713451506_7971938639799325705_n                                        I  came across this article about the White Christmas Stocking that I felt I wanted to share it with others who came across my blog post.

                                       THE WHITE STOCKING (adapted by Carolyn Cox, Canberra)

‘Twas the night before Christmas as I walked through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The presents had been wrapped and placed under the tree

I paused, tired, excited, and then giggled with glee.

The stockings were hanging and were beautifully filled

No one had been forgotten, though the credit card was billed.

As I looked at the scene with the stockings on the ledge.

I noticed one was empty, the one on the edge.

Where’s the Spirit of Christmas – What have I done?

The children’s stockings are all full, except for this one

It was the stocking intended for the child of Bethlehem.

The White stocking for Jesus that was hung up by them.

Of all the people at Christmas, that might be forgotten

How could I not remember the Fathers Only Begotten?

Only He had been left out of the festivities.

As we planned and prepared all, for our families.

As I pondered, I realized this just was not right!

It was His birth that was being celebrated, after this night

I resolved then and there to remember the Lord

And quickly made changes that were easy to afford.

I hung the white stocking in a special place in our home.

And corrected the atmosphere to provide a more spiritual tone.

On Christmas morning I gathered the family together

And each of us wrote on a special piece of paper,

We gave Jesus a gift which we placed in the stocking.

A sincere change of heart, not there for the mocking.

The white stocking hung in our home as a symbol for us

Of the true meaning of Christmas – the Savior, The Lord Jesus

So take your white stocking and hang it with pride

Remember the Savior, put his gift inside

(The White Stocking found at motivatedmamas.net)