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Ash Wednesday: grateful for ash

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Why am I grateful for ash today? It isn't something for which I usually feel gratitude.
Ash sometimes feels like a nuisance. I think of ash in a fireplace that has to be cleared out. Or ash carelessly dropped from a cigarette.
Ash sometimes makes me feel sad. I think of the ash that was the last mortal remains of my parents and grandparents.
Ash is certainly not something I usually use to decorate my body. I have never repented or grieved in sackcloth and ashes in the literal way I read about in the Hebrew scriptures.
So, why today will I welcome an imposition of ash on my forehead, accompanied by the words, 'Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return'?It's hardly designed to cheer anyone up on a cloudy and wet Wednesday morning. Why is it good to be told you are going to die, that you are not immortal? Because I know it is true, but need to be jolted into facing up to that truth from time to time.
For Christians, today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a seas…

Weeping on the 4th Day of Christmas

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Christmas can be really hard to get through, for those who are grieving or feel they have nothing to celebrate.

Some churches put on a special quiet service before Christmas for those who simply cannot face the crowds or joyful singing at the usual Christmas and Carol Services. A quiet alternative service like 'Blue Christmas Service' can be just what some people most need at this time. Such services give permission not to be merry, say it it OK to grieve while others rejoice.

We are still in the season of Christmas and during these 12 days from Christmas Day to Epiphany (January 6) the church calendar has a number of special days that often get forgotten.

Today's commemoration certainly gives permission not to "laugh and be merry". Rather, it gives permission to weep, to protest, to rage in anger, to ask 'why do the innocent suffer'?

Today, the 4th Day of Christmas is called 'Holy Innocents Day'. It commemorates the story of a dreadful massacre of yo…

#celebrate

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It's Christmas Day and today's #AdventWord2018 is #celebrate.

Yes, today is a day to celebrate. The reason for celebration is the birth of Jesus.

Christians celebrate because the message of the angels to the shepherds is of good news of great joy to all people.

Christians celebrate because we believe that in Jesus, God gave himself to the world, not in overwhelming power or extraordinary ways, but in the vulnerability and weakness of a baby. And that greatest of gifts is the gift of love, something to be shared and celebrated.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning,- Jesu, to thee be glory give'n; word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
If, for whatever reason, you feel you have no reason to celebrate today, may you know peace and discover before too long a reason to be joyful.

Image Credit: Pixabay, CC License