Family Friendly Lent

During Lent we turn around and refocus on our relationship with God. We hear about giving something up for Lent as well as taking something on. However you choose to frame this time be sure to explain to your child that it is a time of putting in the practice needed to be better at something, in this case growing closer to God.
During the month of February we have been hearing about some of the miracles Jesus performed in Sunday school. Lent ends with the miracle and mystery of Christ’s resurrection. These stories help children see how God showed people who Jesus was. The resurrection at Easter is the ultimate miracle. Here are some suggestions of ways you can incorporate the season of Lent into your family life this year.
• Reread some of the stories that tell of miracles performed by Jesus including 7 miracles in the book of John(Jesus walking on water, feeding the 5000, etc.) and in Mark (healing the paralyzed man, Jesus calming the waters). Use a children’s Bible and if you don’t have one check out one from our children’s library.
• Color a picture of a butterfly. Talk about what everyone is going to do to think more about God (pray every day, collect left over change and donate to the church offering or a charity of your choice, etc.) Then write that on the back of the butterfly. You could burn it in the fireplace (or somewhere safe) and talk about how palm branches are burned on Ash Wednesday. The ashes are used to make the mark of the cross in remembrance of Jesus and his journey on Palm Sunday.
• Attend one of the Ash Wednesday services. These are shorter services so that makes them a bit easier for young children. Explain how the ashes will be put on their forehead before going.
• Make pretzels. Since pretzels are shaped like two arms crossed in prayer, they are a great concrete (and delicious) symbol for Lent. Remember to pray to grow closer to God.
• Have a family cleaning day. Clean out your home’s unnecessary items just as you are cleaning out unnecessary distractions in your heart as you make more room for God. Donate the items your find to the church rummage sale or a local charity.
• Take on something such as giving out a compliment to at least one person each day! Everyone can share with at night who received the compliment.