Ash Wednesday, Year B - Children's Lessons (2024)

Each week during this series, an emoji (yellow-faced emotions) will be presented as the feeling or emotion of the scripture text that children and families can wonder and discuss every week. Display your own version of the emoji in creative ways. Cut a big poster-sized emoji each week or display the emoji on the screen in your worship space.

Joel 2: 12-13, NIRV

12 The Lord announces to his people,
“Return to me with all your heart.
There is still time.
Do not eat any food.
Weep and mourn.”
13 Don’t just tear your clothes to show how sad you are.
Let your hearts be broken.
Return to the Lord your God.
He is gracious.
He is tender and kind.
He is slow to get angry.
He is full of love.
He won’t bring his judgment.
He won’t destroy you.

Ash Wednesday, Year B - Children's Lessons (1)

Symbol: Emoji of crying face

Children’s Message

You can tell when people are feeling sorry for something that they have done. You can usually see it on their faces. Often, they will cry. They may not eat because they have lost their appetite. In the days of the Old Testament, people would often tear their clothes as a sign of humility and grief. What would happen if you tore your clothes? Would your parents be upset? The tearing of clothes was expensive, as people in biblical times didn’t have as many clothes as we do; but it was a visible sign of the tearing of the hearts with sadness. All these are outward signs of how bad someone feels on the inside.

The people of Israel were feeling sorry because they had disobeyed God. Bad things were happening to them, but Joel brought them good news! God loved them and was waiting for them to come back. God told the people of Israel to show on the outside how sorry they felt. But how they felt on the inside was even more important. If their hearts were broken, God would know that they were sorry and ready to change.

Today is Ash Wednesday. Many people place ashes on their forehead or sometimes the hand, in the shape of a cross, to show an outward sign of how they feel inside. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. Lent is the forty days, not counting Sundays, before Easter. We spend this time preparing our hearts for Easter by making changes in our lives to bring us closer to God. Lent shouldn’t be a countdown to Easter or something that we must “get through”; instead, it should be a chance to remove things that distract us in life so we can focus on Jesus.

Each week during Lent, we will have a different emoji to suggest the emotions that we feel during this time of the year in the church. Today’s emoji is a crying face. Crying is an outward sign of hurting on the inside. When we get hurt, we cry. When our hearts break, we cry. The tears tell others that we are perhaps sorry. The ashes on our forehead also tell others and God that we are sorry and ready to change. Oftentimes during Lent, people “give up” something to remind themselves of change. What is something that you could give up to remind yourself that you are sorry and ready to change? (Let children respond.)

Prayer: Forgiving God, we know that you are full of love for us. We are thankful that you let us come to you, no matter how we feel. When we do wrong, help us to show how sorry we are and that we are ready to return to following you. Amen.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture verses are from the New International Reader's Version (NIRV), Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Ash Wednesday, Year B - Children's Lessons (2024)


How to explain Lent for kids? ›

Lent is about the amazing Love that both God and Jesus has for all of us. It's a season in which we remind ourselves about the true meaning of our faith. It's a time when we can challenge ourselves to be more prayerful, kind, generous, charitable and loving toward one another.

What is the homily for Ash Wednesday year B? ›

Brothers and sisters, if we do this well, this season will indeed be a season of Grace and favor because God will surely hear our prayers and forgive us our sins. So, as we accept ash this Ash Wednesday, let us ask God for the Grace to begin and complete this journey during this Lenten period.

What are the lessons of Ash Wednesday? ›

Ash Wednesday is about refocusing and realigning ourselves in relationship to God and one another. We must encounter our sinfulness and frailty not with shame and blame but with honesty and truth, trusting that God receives our confession.

What is Ash Wednesday simple explanation? ›

It is immediately preceded by Shrove Tuesday. Ash Wednesday is a solemn reminder of human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God and marks the beginning of the penitential Lenten season. It is commonly observed with the distribution of ashes and with fasting.

What do ashes symbolize for kids? ›

Meaning Behind the Ashes

The ashes symbolize several important things: the dust that God created humans from, the 40 days Jesus spent praying and fasting in the desert according to the Bible; sadness over the sins and mistakes people have made, and a visible sign of penance.

What are the three R's of Lent? ›

Lent has its own “3 R's”: reflection, repentance and reconciliation.

What is a simple Lent prayer for kids? ›

Dear God, Thank You that You are loving and forgiving. Help us to love people in the same way as You have loved us. Help us do generous things for others because we love You.

What are the three pillars of Lent for kids? ›

The three traditional pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Through the three pillars of Lent we journey to develop a closer relationship to God.

What does the catechism say about Ash Wednesday? ›

On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday Catholics are obliged to fast and abstain (see below the Code of Canon Law, canons1250-1253). We are to turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel. Abstinence means that no meat is eaten on those days for those who are age 14 and above.

What is the theological importance of Ash Wednesday? ›

Ash Wednesday is important because it marks the start of the Lenten period leading up to Easter, when Christians believe Jesus was resurrected. The ashes symbolize both death and repentance. During this period, Christians show repentance and mourning for their sins, because they believe Christ died for them.

What is the biblical foundation of Ash Wednesday? ›

Ash Wednesday marks the start of a 40-day period which is an allusion to the separation of Jesus in the desert to fast and pray. During this time he was tempted. Matthew 4:1–11, Mark 1:12–13, and Luke 4:1–13.

What are the 3 pillars of Ash Wednesday? ›

The season of Lent begins each year on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time for us to change our lives and grow in holiness. Through the three pillars of Lent – fasting, almsgiving, and prayer, we endeavor to develop a closer relationship to God.

What is Ash Wednesday 5 sentence? ›

Ash Wednesday is a holy day that marks the start of the season of Lent for the majority of the world's Christians. Lent is a 40-day period that represents the Temptation of Christ, and Christians honour it by fasting, praying and taking part in daily devotional activity.

What is Ash Wednesday for beginners? ›

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. This day is marked by Mass, where ashes are placed on the foreheads of Christians in the shape of crosses by the priest. This act symbolizes repentance and a commitment to God.

What is a short message for Ash Wednesday? ›

Wishing a Happy Ash Wednesday. As we receive the ashes today, may we be reminded of our dependence on God and our call to turn away from sin. Wishing you a reflective and spiritually enriching Ash Wednesday. As we begin the season of Lent, may you draw closer to God through prayer, fasting, and acts of kindness.

How to explain Ash Wednesday to a non-Catholic? ›

Ash Wednesday is important because it marks the start of the Lenten period leading up to Easter, when Christians believe Jesus was resurrected. The ashes symbolize both death and repentance. During this period, Christians show repentance and mourning for their sins, because they believe Christ died for them.

Do kids have to not eat meat on Ash Wednesday? ›

On Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays of Lent: Everyone of age 14 and up must abstain from consuming meat. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday: Everyone of age 18 to 59 must fast, unless exempt due to usually a medical reason.

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