Are you ready?
Are you ready for the Ash Wednesday Fairy????
You know the drill…
Early on Wednesday morning, we all set out plates piled high with chocolate and hamburgers and all the other foods people give up for Lent…
And we set them out for the Ash Wednesday Fairy to steal, and take back to her lair and burn on a big bon fire.
And on that day only, if you come across somebody who is smoking, you get to yank the cigarette out of their mouth, and stomp on it, and yell, “Give it up!” before running away giggling.
And late in the evening, when we’re dozing after dinner, the Ash Wednesday Fairy sneaks in through the heating vents, and when we’re not paying attention, she smudges our foreheads with the ashes from all the food and cigarettes and stuff she’s burned.
And then, of course, we give each other presents to signify the beginning of Lent. But since Lent is a time of self-denial we don’t really give presents, we just wrap up empty boxes in newspaper.
What a great day.
At least, it could have been, if Ash Wednesday had a better marketing department.
Instead, this Holy Day is a time of quiet and reflection.
A time to begin a more solemn journey.
A time to set aside the things that distract us.
A time to be touched with the sign of the cross, with ashes made from last year’s Palm Sunday celebration.
No gifts. No fairies. No complicated traditions, even.
No one even gets mad at you if you forget to go.
Make of it what you will, then, this week’s Ash Wednesday, but keep this in mind:
As you and I begin this Lenten season,
A mark of ash is all we need…
to mark the occasion.
Have a great week,