Lent started last week.
Lent, as defined by wikipedia, "is the period leading up to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ."
When observing fasting during Lent, regard must be paid to the fact that Sundays are Feast Days, so there is no fast. The days from Ash Wednesday to the day before Easter Sunday, excluding the Sundays, are forty, corresponding to the number of days Christ spent in the wilderness."
We're not Catholic, but we started celebrating Lent as a family, last year. (I grew up in the Lutheran church attending services every Wednesday evening during Lent....but now we belong to a Baptist church. Before last year, Charlie knew nothing of it other than a time that people would give up sodas or sugar for 40 days.)
Usually, you choose something to fast from whether it is something that you eat regularly like sweets or something that is apart of your daily routine-tv, internet time, etc. When you get the urge to eat (whatever you're fasting from) or would normally (watch tv) you spend that time in prayer or meditation on the Scriptures...it's a time to focus on the cross of Christ by meditating on the beauty of the Gospel through discipline. Sundays, become glorious days during Lent, as you celebrate the Resurrection of Christ and the freedom that his sacrifice gives to believers by feasting upon whatever items/activities you are fasting from!
If you haven't started anything but are interested in celebrating Lent...you're not too late...just jump in now! This is really just a time to examine your heart before the Lord and prepare your heart for Easter....it's okay that you missed the first few days!
Don't know what to do?
Charlie posted this discussion to our church network a few weeks ago:
John Piper gives some great suggestion here.
Heather gave some suggestions for devotions for school-aged children here.
If you have little ones, I cannot tell you how great the Resurrection Eggs were for Asher last year! At two years old he was able to identify and explain elements of the Crucifixion!! I wish I would have gotten it on video...I will have to this year! (You should know how passionately I feel about them after all those exclamation points I just used.) You can even make your own, but they're $8 right now and they come with a book that has scripture references that go along with each egg that you open. (If Lent is new to you, this will be a great guide!)
I am excited about reading Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross. Cate knows me so well. This was in my "shopping cart" on Amazon, but before I actually ordered it, she gave it to me for my birthday! Like Charlie said, we read the first book during Advent and loved it.
Tell the Easter Story with a Playdough Mountain from Noel Piper. We did this last year with the Hendrick's. Every morning after for about a month, the first thing Asher would do was run out to the kitchen table to see if the tomb was still empty.
I love this idea of purging 40 bags of stuff from your house in 40 days. I am already on 5 bags--and that is only trash--not even the actual "things" that I am getting rid of!
Now...onto the craft I promised...
Remember the heart wreath I made for Valentine's? Chelsea came over last week on her day off and we made these:
We followed the same directions from Tatortots and Jello but cut out a cross instead. Then we used pages from a hymnal to modge podge onto the cross. Foam board, paper, coffee filters, hot glue, burlap and ribbon-that's all it is! If you want to make your own, here are the dimensions we used: 4.5 width on all four sides, 20 inches long, and 14 inches across. If you make one, I'd love to see how yours turns out!
(If you're my farming friend who loves coffee and burlap and just celebrated a birthday on Saturday, don't make one! I have one of these for you!)
So, what are you guys doing for Lent or Easter? Or what have you done in the past?