I grew up Baptist and we didn’t celebrate Lent. It wasn’t condemned or anything, it just wasn’t talked about. One of my grandmothers had grown up in a different branch of the Protestant denominational tree and did celebrate it. She gave up desserts. As a child, that seemed unbelievable to me, and I really didn’t understand it at all.
Now I’m not Baptist and I’m enjoying studying different aspects of Christianity. Is Lent necessary? Am I going to hell if I don’t participate? No. Can it be a form of legalism? Yep. But so many things in the church can become legalistic if we let them. If used as a time to pause and reflect, to “be still and know that I am God,” I think it can be very helpful, at least in my life.
So here’s what’s in the works at our house. First, my husband and I are reading a lovely book, Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter. It’s a great devotional book. There are readings for every day by famous authors–from Dorothy Sayers to C.S. Lewis to Martin Luther, Madeleine L’Engle and people in between. I highly recommend it! It is over most of my children’s heads, so I have other activities planned for us as a family. I’ve listed more than you can use, but take a look:
Here’s a website with some nice Lenten ideas, called Domestic-Church.com:Fridge Art. I especially like the Lenten Cross, an advent-type reading set for Easter. It gives readings for every day, walking through the Bible and retelling the story from creation to crucifixion, the prophecies that were fulfilled and concentrating on why Jesus came for us. From Creche to Cave gives an idea to make your own little tomb and figures for your children to use in their play, as you read the story of Jesus to your little ones.
Here’s an interesting page on the history of Lent and how it’s 40 days long even if it’s 46 days til Easter.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t link to Ann’s thoughts and practices of Lent, that are so much clearer than mine:). I have the Advent/Lent wreath Ann’s son made and am planning on using it this season as well.
As we walk toward Resurrection Sunday, here are five activities to think about using to celebrate this most special day, then six more. This year I’d like to add the Lenten Cross readings to our wreath time in the evenings. Today I’ll print out the sheet about the origin of Lent and talk about it and I hope we can make the cave at some point in the next few weeks. We already celebrate Passover and it truly is one of the highlights of the year for us. But these are just a few of the long list of activities. There are more activities here than any one family could do. I’m just giving you a variety, so you can choose a few that are right for your family. Start small and manageable. Rest assured, if you were to come to my home, we wouldn’t be tackling the entire litany of activities. Choose prayerfully and wisely and enjoy this time with the Lord and your family.
If you have any other ideas, please share them with us all under the comments. I love to see how other people practice and celebrate Lent!