Today is the last Sunday of Epiphany in our church. . .we get all of the Alleluias out of our system today because we won't be saying that again in church until Easter! And that means that Lent is right around the corner. In fact, it begins this Wednesday, with Ash Wednesday. I haven't decided yet if I will take Aidan to a service (would a 2 1/2 year old understand why ashes are being put on his head?? ) but I will attend one, for sure. It's so important to have that annual reminder--Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.
So, what's it all about (Alfie??)? Lent is that time of year when we, as Christians, are asked to spend 40 days contemplating and praying on the Good Friday Cross. It is our time in the wilderness. We join Jesus in his wilderness and ask him, again, to take upon him our sins and our humanity and offer it as a sacrifice to God with his death. . .and then our renewal of life, through him, on Easter morning.
How do we do that? We pray, we fast, and we give things up (another form of fasting). Why do we give things up and what should it be? Well, we give things up as a sacrifice. . .it should be something that has a hold on us or that we really enjoy--coffee, alcohol, sweets, tv, meat on Fridays etc and we try not to be martyrs about giving that up--don't think about it or feel bad inside toward others becasue they didn't give up that thing!--and open ourselves up to new insights about our relationship with God and others and how we can change to be better Christians.
While I won't ask or expect Aidan to give up anything for Lent, I do plan to give a few things up in addition to mine and Pats annual custom of having no meat on Fridays (which sounds Catholic, but is in fact really in recognition of Jesus' diet--and therefore actually Jewish.
Annually, we only have two days of Holy obligation for attending church and for fasting--Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. I try to observe them both. You would think Christmas and Easter would be there, too, but I guess they figure that there are plenty of folks who go only on Christmas and Easter--the C & E folks--and so they don't need to be listed as an Holy obligation! Anyway, I took my palm fronds back to the church today from last Palm Sunday and they will be put with the others, burned down to ash, and then that is what is used for the ashes on Ash Wednesday--it all goes in a circle--as does God. . .
Aidan had his second to last Ice Skating lesson today. He did really good! He really has the front skating down:
He's doing really good at the backward skate, too, but sometimes needs more help with that:
Afterward, we had our lunch at Moe's and then came home to a quiet lazy afternoon:
Mangy mutt dogs!!