Ash Wednesday is on February 14th this year. Hope Community will be holding an Ash Wednesday service that day at 6:30 pm at Live Oak Church. We thought that it would be helpful to put something into parents’ toolboxes to help you prepare your child(ren) for Ash Wednesday and to help them learn and grow through the upcoming season of Lent.
We begin with a simple explanation of Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Season:
At an Ash Wednesday service, the minister (and those assisting him) will make the sign of a cross with ashes on the forehead of people who are believers in Jesus. In the Bible, God’s people would sometimes either sit in ashes or rub them on their heads to show that they were sorry for something they had done or to show that they were sad about something that had happened. (Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Job 42:6; Daniel 9:3; Jonah 3:6) The ashes can remind us that we need God for forgiveness.
The ashes placed on our heads on Ash Wednesday are a sign that others can see that we are followers of Jesus. These ashes are also a way of reminding us and those around us that we are beginning the holy season of Lent. Lent is a 40 day period of time (not counting Sundays) that leads us into Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead after dying for our sins (wrongs).
The reason Lent is a period of 40 days is because it reminds us that Jesus fasted (did not eat or drink) and was tempted (or tested) in the wilderness for 40 days.
Many people observe a fast during Lent. When you fast, you stop doing something. Some people stop eating a particular food, for example, meat, candy, or soft drinks, while others might fast from watching TV, playing video games or even fighting with one’s brother/sister. The idea of fasting is that when we are tempted to do this thing, we instead spend time in prayer, knowing that we get strength from our Heavenly Father. It is now a common thing for Christians to take on a good practice instead of giving up something. Examples may be reading the Bible or praying more often or even doing daily/weekly random acts of kindness. Families may take on reading family devotional daily. Whatever one choses to do, it should be something that will help that person draw near to God. Here’s a little something to help you through anything you might fast—whatever you give up, you can enjoy on Sundays during Lent, because we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on Sundays so it’s a day of feasting, not fasting!
As a family talk about the following:
A. Is there something you would like to fast (give up) or to take up this Lenten season that might help you focus on God more?
B. How can we support each other through Lent?
C. How can you grow closer to Jesus in this season of Lent?