We know that the season of Lent is near when we begin to think about pancakes and ashes. There are many ways to prepare our lives for this season of reflection and renewal. Observing these forty days of Lent with a mindfulness of Christ’s sacrifice can make our celebration of Christ’s resurrection a more meaningful and personal experience.

Eating pancakes may seem like a frivolous way to begin the season of Lent, but the meaning behind Shrove Tuesday holds a very significant role in helping us focus our hearts and minds on the days of Lent. Shrove Tuesday occurs on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and will fall on Tuesday, March 4. This day is also known as Mardi Gras (which in French means “Fat Tuesday”) and Pancake Tuesday.

Historically, during Lent the faithful were forbidden to consume meat, butter, eggs, or milk. If a family had a store of these foods they would certainly spoil by the time that fasting ended on Easter Sunday. So the solution was to use up these items by Shrove Tuesday. When you add a little flour to these ingredients, you get…pancakes!

Our children and older preschoolers will be sharing in this tradition by participating in a Pancake Supper on Tuesday, March 4, at the DuCharmes’ home. They are invited to drop by between 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. on this day to enjoy some pancakes and to receive some devotional materials to guide them and their families during this season of Lent.

Following Shrove Tuesday will be Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent and the beginning of forty days of repentance and prayer. On Wednesday, March 5, Highland Hills will hold an Ash Wednesday service in the chapel at 6:30 p.m. The tradition of this service is to have ashes imposed on the forehead as a reminder of our mortality and humanity. The ashes are also a symbol of repentance, sorrow, and humility.

As we walk through this season of Lent, may we allow pancakes and ashes to teach us some of the deeper and significant meanings of this season, and with these practices may we prepare our hearts for the great celebration to come.