Reasons Ash Wednesday is better than Christmas

March 9, 2011

10. No braving the malls looking for Lent gifts.

9. No pressure to send “Merry Ash Wednesday” cards.

8. No explaining why using chi-rho isn’t “X-ing Jesus out” of Lent.

7. No dominionist fundagelicals trying to fight culture wars by putting “Jesus resisting temptation in the wilderness” displays on public property.

6. No celebrity holiday albums.

5. No Ash Wednesday sitcom specials.

4. No saccharine email forwards about “the true meaning” of Ash Wednesday.

3. No tacky Ash Wednesday sweaters.

2. “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” extremely difficult to use in consumer marketing strategies.

1. Nobody ever says, “Ash Wednesday is really all about the children.”

(All this from Dave Barnhart.)


Meanwhile, Dr. Boli has published a helpful listing for those seeking an Ash Wednesday service to attend.

9 Responses to “Reasons Ash Wednesday is better than Christmas”

  1. KathyB Says:

    My personal favourite is #6. I was pleased to find St. Basil’s packed full of fellow penitents today, despite the weather.

  2. cburrell Says:

    My favourite, I think, is #1. I am always irritated when people say that Christmas is not really for me.

  3. Mac Says:

    I like #2 best.

  4. cburrell Says:

    I was let down a little this year by the imposition of ashes. Instead of getting “Dust thou art…” I got the upbeat substitute “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” It always disappoints me when that happens.

  5. KathyB Says:

    I was impressed with hubby who did not wash his ashes off before lecturing to over 100 students on Wednesday afternoon. Now they either all know he’s Catholic, or were just to shy to tell him about the smudge of dirt on his face.

  6. cburrell Says:

    My wife got a few helpful comments about “something” on her forehead. I guess that people just don’t know about the custom, or they aren’t attuned to the calendar.

  7. Mac Says:

    I always feel let down by the substition of “Repent…”, too. Nothing wrong with it in itself, of course, but it doesn’t have the same punch.

    Alas, I was unable to avoid hearing the song-hymn “Ashes.” It seems to have become the “Silent Night” of Lent for a lot of church musicians. Or maybe the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” of Lent.

  8. cburrell Says:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with that comparison. Mercifully, I’ve only ever heard “Ashes” once.

    At the parish where I attended the noon-time Ash Wednesday service this year, the hymns were canned: they were played over the sound system, and nobody sang. When the priest deemed that it had gone on long enough, he just unceremoniously threw the off switch. Still, I didn’t mind it as much as that “praise band” singing “Ashes”.

  9. KathyB Says:

    Clearly we lucked out with a suitably sombre acappela service and “O Lord throughout these 40 Days”.

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