Ash Wednesday – For Kids!

ashesHave you noticed how much our pre-1st Communion kids love Ash Wednesday?  Perhaps it is because they only receive blessings when they usually go up to Communion.  Now on this special day, the beginning of Lent, they get to receive exactly what the grown-ups receive.  They have the ashes placed on their foreheads and then look at others in wonder, imagining what they must look like if the people around them have black smears on them.  Do they look like that too?  And then tentative fingers reach up to see if they feel any different.  And they get a little bit of the ash on their fingers and look at the blackness in wonder.

Their awe of this holy day is inspiring and makes me want to share in it.  It makes me want to wonder at the palms of celebration are now ashes to signify my own mortality.

But how do we put meaning and explanation to their awe and wonder? 

First, we recall the Palm Sunday from the year before.  We remind them of how we carried palms into church and held them up while we heard the story of Jesus’ joyful celebration into Jerusalem and how it led to his death on a cross.  Perhaps they can tell you the story!  I’ll guess that they likely remember Palm Sunday because it’s not every day that you have a palm to hold in church! 

Then, we explain to them that the palms from that day are burned into ashes for the celebration on Ash Wednesday.  The palms turn into ashes, just like someday we will die too, but it’s not forever death when we love Jesus – it’s just opening the doorway to Heaven!

And lastly, (because little kids are so smart, they will get this!) we explain about how Ash Wednesday is the beginning of a special time to help us prepare for Easter.  Lent is a time when we can prepare our hearts and souls to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem again on Palm Sunday and then celebrate his resurrection on Easter!!

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