Today is Ash Wednesday. Each year the church takes this time to remember what God has done for us. We contemplate why it was necessary and at what great price it was given. This is not an exuberant time of the church year, but a contemplative time when we can reevaluate our own lives and our relationship with God.
I think this tree can be used as an analogy of Lent. It stands here covered with snow and lacks the bloom of spring or the green of summer. Yet we know that both the bloom and the green will be coming. Today is the beginning of a season where we can take snapshots of ourselves, and we can see the "filthy rags" that we carry around as if they were riches--our habits that need to be changed, our attitudes towards changes God would like us to make in our lives, our relationship with God, our Father. Lent offers us a time to see ourselves covered in the cold of sin; as we walk through the next 40 days, however, we will be given the opportunity to change. We will be given time to shake our cold hearts off and let the sap begin to flow and buds begin to grow. On Easter morning, we can be ready to face the world with a little more seriousness in our step and a lot more sunshine in our hearts.
God's blessings to you; may you find peace and forgiveness. May you find joy!