Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, always occurs exactly 46 days before Easter. This year, it is earlier than usual, on February 14. It hasn't been this early since 2018, and it won't be again until 2027, when it will be even earlier (February 10). The earliest possible date for Ash Wednesday is February 4, which last occurred in 1818 and won't happen again until 2285.
During the season of Lent, it is traditional to sing the words of Joel 2:13 before the Gospel reading: "Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." To return to the LORD is to repent. But, we find here that repentance is not something you do; it is what the Lord brings about by His Word. On Ash Wednesday, as ashes are put on our foreheads we hear God's curse from Genesis 3, "To dust you shall return." Ultimately, all the things we do end in death. However, when God gives you the never-ending promise that your sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, He gives you a hope that goes beyond death and the grave. By His Word, He causes us to turn from ourselves and instead cling to His mercy given in Christ alone. Our Lord teaches us to come to Him as the one who gives us everything we need, including the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Grace and peace to you this season,