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Growing up, we didn’t celebrate Lent. To say that is an understatement. The church I grew up in didn’t officially celebrate Easter (too pagan), although individual congregations (including ours) did have cantatas and the like. Our family celebrated, but it was very secular. Lent was out of the question. We just didn’t do it. I always found it ironic that we went to such lengths to celebrate the birth of Christ (which, in and of itself is a miracle, and absolutely something to be celebrated), but we sort of glossed over the very essence of Christianity–the Resurrection of Christ. The end of the War. The glorious victory.
As an adult, my husband and I noticed these things that I didn’t notice too much as a child, and have purposed to bring a deep, meaningful, reverent spirit to our home for Easter. The 40 days of Lent seems perfect for this, a time to stop, reflect on the meaning of our faith, our lives, and everything that makes us Christian. Although my husband was brought up Catholic, he never celebrated Lent, or Ash Wednesday, or anything else. So, it’s a journey we’re taking together. This is our first year celebrating Lent as a family, and we’re honored to bring you along on our journey.
Of course, having NO idea what I’m doing, I went to the best possible resources I have: Facebook, Google, and Pinterest. First, I researched, and got an idea of my vision for Lent for our family. First and foremost, I think this is the perfect time to go over the Life of Christ. Kaitlyn, in her 6th Grade Waldorf cycle, is due for a block on the Life of Christ, anyway. So, I started with my Waldorf Essentials 6th Grade book. Reading through it, though, it covered in the month of the block more about the Church and beliefs of Christianity, and that’s not what I was looking for. I wanted to focus on Jesus’ life, teachings, death, and resurrection, alone. So, although we’ll use that resource along with our others, that’s not going to be our backbone this block. Back to Google I go…
It was actually hard to find unit studies or the like on the Life of Christ, especially for the age group I am dealing with. It needs to go deep enough for my big kids, cause deep thought and meditation, but simple enough that my littles will get something out of it. I’m ending up putting together my own, and these are the resources I’m using:
Notgrass’ Draw to Learn the Life of Christ. We used Notgrass’ Draw to Learn the Proverbs a few months ago, and you can read my review of that here. We really enjoyed it, so I grabbed a copy of Draw to Learn the Life of Christ to use for the next month. Now, there are 150 lessons in this, meant to be used throughout a full year. We only want to do this for the Season of Lent, 40 days, so we’ll be doing multiple lessons a day. But, this would absolutely be a great resource to use for a year long study, as well. Since you can get it in downloadable PDF format and print it off, one purchase ($14.95) will do you for your whole family. If your printer is obnoxiously slow (*ahem*), you might consider getting it printed and bound at an office supply store. It’s a very big book. Wish I’d thought about that before I started printing mine. (I say, as I sit at the kitchen counter and type because now my computer is tethered to my printer indefinitely…)
Scripture Adventures’ In the Life of Christ. This study is, again, supposed to be a year long, and is a HUGE file. But, we’re going to go through it more quickly. Since this is our focus this month, I think it will work well. I’ll let you know. Again, it’s a PDF file, so you can use it for all of your kids, and it’s $19.99.
Scripture Adventures’ Easter Adventure. Much smaller, focusing *just* on Easter, and includes crafts, recipes, memory verses, and hymns. PDF format, and $6.99.
Ann Voskamp’s An Easter Devotional: Trail to the Tree. This one is free on Mrs. Voskamp’s site, but you need to be reading it in an RSS reader to get the link for the download. Like her other writings, though, it’s very spiritual, and beautiful. There are only 17 readings, so if you miss a day or whatever, you’ll still get through it all. It starts with the Fall, and will take you through the Resurrection. I love this, and I’m going to be making our Easter Tree this evening. ;-)
That’s our plan, anyway. Right now, we’re getting a slow start. Daddy read us our devotional this morning, but I’m finding that bringing the really reverent spirit that I want into our Lent is kind of difficult. Reverence is something we struggle with in our house. Working on that. We did make a couple of crafts. I found this one in the Easter Adventure book:
This is our Lent Chain. Every day, we’ll take off a loop. During Passion Week, there are readings to tell about the week leading up to Christ’s Resurrection. We used Yellow and Purple. Violet is the traditional color of Lent, I’m not sure why (maybe some of my other readers do, please leave a comment!). I’m guessing it’s because Purple is traditionally the color of royalty, and Christ is the King of Kings. That’s what I told my kids, anyway. The yellow is our substitute for Gold, again, in our home for Royalty.
This is our Cross:
I found this idea on Pinterest, but, of course, I can’t find the Pin now. The idea (for us anyway) comes from Luke 11:24-26:
When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places, seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left. When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.
When we give something up for Lent, we need to replace it with something good. Otherwise, we’re just sweeping the house clean, and waiting for the evil to move right back in when Lent is over. On our Cross, we’re going to be placing flowers that show our good deeds, the things we’re doing to replace the bad habits we’re giving up for Lent. There’s nothing there yet, but by Easter, I know that wall will be filled with beautiful flowers! (That we’re, um, still cutting out.)
So, what are we giving up for Lent? Well, this requires some deep meditation. For myself, my first thought was coffee and caffeine. Mostly because someone drank all of my creamer yesterday, so I can’t drink it anyway. And I really need to ditch it. Not very spiritual, but my morning cuppa means a lot to me, and I need to get rid of it. Of course, as soon as I decided that, my beloved Prince Charming brought me home a Starbucks Venti Chai Latte with 2 shots of espresso. Which I drank. Because, um, it’s the thought that counts? Yeah…
My kids are much more spiritually minded. Danny is giving up screen time and Doctor Who. This is HUGE for him. We talked today about how if we’re sacrificing something easy, it’s not even worth it. It needs to mean something, and it should, ideally, be something that’s standing in between us and our Lord. Danny decided that this was his biggest obstacle in his spiritual growth. I’m very proud of him.
Kaitlyn is a music lover. She decided to give up pop music but, the reality is, she doesn’t really listen to pop music. So, we talked, and she decided to give up her contemporary Christian music for Lent, and focus on hymns. This is really hard for her. We don’t find anything particularly wrong with contemporary Christian music (or else we wouldn’t let her listen to it to begin with), but there is absolutely something spiritual and special about the hymns. Since we go to a more contemporary service, she’s not getting them at church, either. She’s a bit apprehensive about this, she’s really not crazy about hymns, but she’s doing it for Jesus. We downloaded Mr. Pipes and the British Hymnmakers to her Kindle, and I think I’ll go see if I can’t get some of the other Mr. Pipes books for her to read during this time.
OK, so that’s our plan for Lent, so far. I do need to get some more supplies, for a Resurrection Garden and the like. I want to make this a really special celebration for our family, one we’ll look forward to every year. Stick with us as we celebrate our first Lent!