Lent: A Family Tradition

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Lent has been a tradition for many members of our church family as far back as records are kept.  The early church leaders drew on the symbolism of the number 40 to create an annual time of preparation for the most important observances of their new Christian faith.  Like all traditions, some people have forgotten its original intent or simply go through the motions.  But like all traditions, it can add deeper meaning and rhythm to our busy and chaotic lives.

Last year I pointed out that I want to come to a full and complete stop this Easter season, so I need to start braking early.  (Why do I always use car analogies?)  The annual liturgical wheel has made yet another turn, and so it is time to think about it again.  This year I want to emphasize the way that we can help our kids prepare for Good Friday and Easter through the season of Lent.

As a parent, I set the cadence or the rhythm for the children in my home.  I like spending Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve preparing for Christmas, and I like to spend the 44 days before Good Friday preparing our family for Easter.  During this preparation, there are a lot of important lessons we can gather from Lent: 

  • Repentance
  • The short (and therefore precious) nature of our own mortality
  • Self-control

If we wake up on Easter morning and dash off to church, our kids will not have the opportunity to really pick up the full importance of these and other lessons.  But if we are purposeful we will be able to insert small reminders throughout these 7 weeks that will help us all to anticipate and prepare.  And in so doing, we will be participating in a family tradition that goes back nearly 2,000 years!

Here is one example of meaningful activities you can do with your family that we found.

What does your family do?  What resources have you found?  Please share your ideas!

Other Lent Resources:

OPL:

Lent – 60 to 0 (in 40)

Hannah Gives Up Books! 

Why we celebrate holidays

Other

Nice article about lent

Only the penitent shall pass…good readings for this season:

Psalm 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143

Joel 2:12-18

2 Cor 5:20—6:2

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Psalm 4

Catholic Resources:

http://www.catholic.org/clife/lent/ashwed.php

http://www.catholic.org/clife/lent/

http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/history-of-lent.html

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/index.cfm

http://www.usccb.org/about/divine-worship/liturgical-calendar/upload/2015cal.pdf

Image Credit:  Our Purposeful Life 

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