Ash Wednesday is an important celebration whether Catholic or not. It marks the beginning of Lent!
As we begin this season I think it is important to include your children in the traditions and observances. One of the best ways to do this is to observe them yourself. Also explain to them what will happen before you attend the services. Talk to them about why we do special things during this tie of year. When children understand they are more likely to pay attention and behave in the service. Think about it…If things are confusing, you can’t see, or you don’t understand what is happening would you want to sit up and pay attention?
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and repentance. Ash Wednesday begins 40 days before Easter and gets it’s name from the tradition of spreading ashes in a the shape of the cross on your forehead.
Where do the ashes come from? They are most often from the palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. The preist burns them and mixes them with holy water.
Ashes go back as far as the Old Testament. The priests would cover their heads with ashes to show sorrow and repentance to God. People, like Job, would put on sack cloth and ashes to show that they were in mourning.
So the same reason applies today. Wearing ashes is an outward sign of an inward feeling. It shows that we are sorry for our sins. Sin damages or friendship with God. Jesus died on the cross to make up for our sins. He tells us to keep away from sin but sometimes we mess up. The only one who was without sin was Jesus himself. He wants us to grow to be more like him and one of the ways that we can do that is through repentance.
(Repentance – the act of showing sorrow when you do wrong and a commitment to change.)
As we embark on this Lenten journey, reflect on your sins and faults. Confess them and receive forgiveness. Don’t let sin separate you from His throne! Get rid of it and make a commitment to change.
I have created a coloring activity to do as you talk to your kids about Ash Wednesday and Lent. Have your children color the color sheet. Then, use black chalk or finger paint to make a cross on the forehead of the color sheet. Finally, have them write things that they will commit to changing during this Lent. It could be simple sacrifices like candy or soda. Or things that they will add in like prayer or stations of the cross. Also, write any sins that they want to confess like disobeying, forgetting to pray or hurting others. Hang them where the children will see them and be reminded of them during this Lent.
Ash Wednesday Coloring Page