Ash Wednesday – Feb 17, 2021

In south Louisiana, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is a giant celebration with parades and king cakes and costumes and more. This year Mardi Gras was cancelled as a holiday due to COVID restrictions. Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season, which are traditionally the 40 days leading up to Easter.

“On Ash Wednesday, which is traditionally a somber holiday, a church’s priest or pastor will dip their finger into a tray of ashes and spread them on congregants’ foreheads in the shape of a cross. While doing this, they’ll say, “from dust you came and from dust you will return.” The ashes are made by burning palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday.Lent is 40 days long, not including Sundays (that means the season is technically 46 days long).

The fact that it’s 40 days has significance. According to Father William Saunders of the Catholic Education Resource Center, “the number 40 has always had special spiritual significance regarding preparation … most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert before He began His public ministry (Matthew 4:2).”When does Lent end?Lent ends three days before Easter Sunday on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

The week before Easter Sunday — called Holy Week — is a big deal in the Christian church. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’s triumphant arrival in Jerusalem, where he received palm branches at his feet. Then comes Holy Wednesday, which acknowledges Judas’s plan to betray Jesus. The day after Holy Wednesday is Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper between Jesus and his disciples. Maundy Thursday is the last day of Lent.”

As a rule, Christians “give up” something to commemorate the sacrifice given by Christ – his life as a covering for sin.

This year, I have joined with a group of ladies – 40 Bags in 40 Days – Give up clutter for Lent!

Today I went through my closet – not a big project, just the shirts. I purged 6 shirts without even thinking about it. I find that if I make it a huge project, I never want to start because it’s overwhelming. Simply getting a few items out at a time is making it a small task rather than a daunting one.

Tomorrow I’m getting rid of the socks. That never-ending pile of mismatched socks is getting chunked.

We have been snowed in here in the south – for several days everything has been closed. We don’t have salt trucks or weather proof water pipes.

Many people have been without electricity, including heat and running water. Tomorrow it should thaw enough to get everything working again.

Be safe!

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