Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lenten season begins

Next week is Ash Wednesday, time to think Lenten thoughts. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of 40 weekdays of preparation for Easter season, which are days in Lent, but not days of Lent.

Each year I write to refresh Christians’ memories of the 40 days of Lent that symbolize variously the 40 days Moses spent on Mount Sinai, the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, or the 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert.

Years ago when I was in high school most of my friends seemed to be of the Catholic faith. Our schedule was generally to go to one or another’s home and work on our homework together so we could have time to do other things once our lessons were complete. When Ash Wednesday arrived each year, the friends would go to church; it wasn't every day, but several times during the week following classes at school. If I wanted to work with them on homework, I followed along to church and participated right along with them, even though I was Presbyterian at the time.

Our elders always stress the importance of this holy season and we should recognize this and perhaps discuss topics pertaining to what Lent should mean to everyone - perhaps at the dinner table that evening if your family has the tradition of all gathering each day at the table for supper. If your family doesn't have that tradition or rule, then at breakfast there may be time to discuss the happenings for the day or news of family happenings. Time was when there were sacrifices made such as not eating meat on certain days in some homes or persons offering their own sacrifices during the season personally for the holy observance. Does anyone still do this? Some practices and beliefs have changed considerably since those days.

But, we can still have our own thoughts and try to be more conscious of the season. We could think of the holiday season we celebrated during, Christmas, and renew the feeling we had of being sensitive and understanding to others, praising them, doing kind things for them, giving them encouragement for their deeds and good works. It only takes a few minutes and can mean so much to someone.

You know the person you mentioned during the holiday time you promised to stop by and see or get together for a chat; have you done it? This would be a good time to keep that promise ... let today or tomorrow be that day. Stop by the nursing home, if you don't have someone there, just visit with any person sitting in the hallway waiting for someone to visit them ... it means so much. Remember hot cross buns? They are specially made at this season. And, they are just the thing to pick up at the local bakery or supermarket and take along either for home as a remembrance of why they are available at this time of year, or to a shut-in with a thermos of coffee to share with them. Perhaps it might start a tradition you can do each year to observe this holy season with your favorite aunt or grandmother; you will also be rewarded by your feelings of doing this.

Do try to make this season different in your life.

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