I grew up in a family that attended a church that observed Lent. I now attend a church that does not really as a whole observe Lent or Advent, I know there are other individuals that do, but as a body of believers we certainly do not have Ash Wednesday or anything quite like that. Yet it is still something that in our family in our way we observe. I like to take the 40 days to prepare us, to get us looking ahead. I just don’t want to arrive at Good Friday or Easter Morning out of breath from the busyness of life. I want us as a family to really stop, slow down and consider the magnitude of what God did for us.
I am a rather visual person so I like to do something very tangible. This year I put sand, (okay I did not have any sand so working with what I had on hand I took some Epsom Salt and mixed some Cocoa in to give it a sand-like look) and then placed a candle in the middle. We often talk about how Jesus is the light of the world and He wants us to shine as lights for Him too, so the candle represents Jesus but it also reminds us to be a light to others through out our day. The sand represents the desert, I talked about how Jesus was tempted in the desert and how we as followers of Him we have access to His strength to resist temptation too. Last I have a jar of pebbles, the pebbles represent the things we struggle with. I put the first one in. (This pregnancy I have been so tired, which leaves me irritable.) I told the kids that lately I have been struggling with being cranky, and I want to let go of that and give it to God. So slowly pebbles have been added, I said it is fine with me if come Easter morning we can no longer see the sand for all the pebbles. We also talked about how we might need to hand over the same struggle to God more than once and that is okay too.
Books! We are a family that loves books for the younger kids we read a few picture books over and over during this time. This one is really more about Spring, but does talk about Easter morning. It is beautifully illustrated and I use it to talk about God, how the seasons change, and that Easter is coming which leads to faith talks too!We do not do the Easter Bunny in our house, early on I wasn’t even sure what I thought about Easter eggs but we had a set of Grandparents that always gave the children chocolate eggs and then I came across this sweet story. I have used it to keep the focus off of the ‘commercial egg’ and on Christ, while still enjoying some chocolate too.These are two books that I highly recommend for kid’s that are a bit older. Great stories that hold their interest but point to Jesus, both are excellent!
Lastly I keep a binder with articles and activities that I find online I have found a few devotionals for Lent in my travels too, some things may have a Catholic bent to them (which we are not) but I take what works for my family and leave the rest.I also wanted to share a link to a blog post I read earlier that has a great idea of an activity to do with children who are reading on their own. I think you could easily pick it up now and add it in with what you are doing or Pin or bookmark it for future use. I have been using it and have really enjoyed it, Creating a Lenten Prayer Station for kids
These are just a few ways we try to take some time out of the busyness to stop and reflect on Jesus in these few short weeks before Easter.