It’s rather oxymoronic to wish you a Happy Ash Wednesday, since Ash Wednesday is a day to be reminded of and grieve over our sin. But people look at me weird whenever I wish them a sad day.
Today is the beginning of Lent, a season of 40 days, not counting Sundays, leading to Easter. Lent is a time of prayerful personal reflection to prepare ourselves for the upcoming Easter Celebration. During Lent we pray “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23-24).
During Lent we grieve over our sins and earnestly seek God to transform us. Because this time of grief ends with the great celebration of Easter, the Eastern Orthodox Church refers to Lent as “The Bright Sadness”.
Lent is an excellent time to practice a Spiritual Discipline that isn’t normally a part of your life. Many people find fasting and praying one meal a week to be a meaningful Lenten practice.
Lent is an excellent time to practice self-control as an intentional spiritual act. (It is one of the fruit of the spirit you know! –See Galatians 5:22-23) Many people find it very meaningful to give up something they usually enjoy during Lent. Some people choose to celebrate each Sunday as a “little Easter” by enjoying what they have otherwise given up for Lent.
So, may you have a sad Ash Wednesday, and may that begin to prepare you for the joy of the resurrection!