Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Beginning of the Season

Today is Ash Wednesday. It is the beginning of the Lenten Season in the Christian tradition, and many of us will begin preparing ourselves for the mystery of Easter.

I feel that my own young children and the children that I teach are not yet ready to understand Easter in terms of the crucifixion of Jesus; it's just too much for them to comprehend (especially since a few months ago, we were celebrating His birth). They don't understand WHY anyone would want to kill a loving teacher who was spreading healing and kindness.

For now, the focus is on the concepts of rebirth and new life, which are universal themes, especially in Spring!

Both at home and in my classroom, we will create a Lenten Garden; visit this link for a great tutorial (because I haven't created ours yet, AND I don't have a camera!) Ann Druitt in "All Year Round" offers a lovely description of this garden. It will appear lifeless (moss, bare twig-trees, etc.), until Easter arrives, at which point I will adorn them with small potted crocuses and other living things.

Another great symbol for children is the story of a caterpillar. In order to become what it is truly meant to be, a caterpillar must give up its "life" in becoming a chrysalis, only to burst into new life as a beautiful, ethereal butterfly. You could also plant a seed (which again, appears lifeless, and must give up its existence as a seed in order to bloom into a flower).
In sharp contrast to the deprivation one feels when going on a "diet", I enjoy the quiet contemplation of this season, and the sense that by "giving up" something I enjoy (in my case, coffee AND sugar) for the forty days leading up to Easter, I am tilling the soil of my spirit, creating a nourishing space where beauty can thrive.

3 comments:

  1. I have become interested lately in contemplating these "holidays" that I celebrate with my family, but don't have any idea what they mean. I went to church as a small child, and then never really picked back up again as I grew up. I hope to learn more so that I can share these things with my own daughter...great post!

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  2. Hmmm..you may have inspired me to get some seeds going for my girls...
    Of course, as you know, we have much experience in monarch metamorphisis, thanks to a wonderful teacher at their school!

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  3. I LOVE SPRING! I love Easter as far as Christian Holidays go. It is by far my favourite! I love the themes of spring: rebirth, growth, hope, new life, light after darkness, etc. This whole season is an analogy for life. Love this post especially the first picture! As the wind rattles my window and another snowfall warning is a in effect, I am hopeful that spring will come.

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