In the comments to this post, I promised I would share a few of our family’s traditions for the seasons of Lent and Easter. I realize that it’s a bit too late for this year, but hey, it gives you plenty of time to think and consider how you may want to approach this in your home for next year. J
A couple of caveats: Our goal during Lent is mostly to help our children (and ourselves) understand that this is a special season set aside to reflect on Christ’s coming and work on the cross on our behalf – something that is as significant and important in our family life as our observance of Christmas. So what I share here are some of the traditions we have adopted as we have endeavored to do that, and therefore don’t necessarily include all of the practices observed in more liturgical churches during the season of Lent. You will also see that we like to keep things fairly simple. You aren’t going to see lots of cute crafts or events that are heavy on preparation. I’m not a crafty-mama in the first place. We’ve moved a lot in the second place (this year is the first time since 2009 that we have spent two consecutive Easters on the same continent!). And in our missionary community, March/April tends to be one of the busiest times of the year for community events of all sorts – unfortunate but true. So our traditions reflect that – simple things that I can still pull off without adding extra stress during a move or an otherwise busy season. Just so you know where I’m coming from.
|The mantle on Good Friday|
On each Sunday of Lent, we use John Piper’s Lenten Lights devotional. I like that this is designed sort of as the ‘reverse’ of an advent wreath – rather than lighting a new candle for each Sunday, one is extinguished. The last candle is extinguished on Good Friday, and then one awakes to all of the candles re-lit to celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday. To go along with each reading of the devotional, I searched for a painting that would illustrate the story. (I wish I had a nice printable to share with you, but alas I don’t. This is a useful site for searching for artwork with Biblical themes, however, if you wanted to put together something similar for your family.)
During Holy Week, we use a set of plastic Easter eggs to retell the story of Passion Week. Each egg is filled with a symbol that represents a part of the story. You can buy sets of these commercially, but I made ours myself. Currently, I have each day/symbol keyed to a reading from Catherine Vos’ The Child’s Story Bible, but am thinking that for next year I will key them to the actual Scripture passages.
Here is my list of symbols and readings from The Child’s Story Bible:
Egg #1: Palm Branch (in our case, it’s a foam palm tree sticker)
Reading: Ch. 41 “The King Comes” p.311
Egg #2: Cracker
Reading: Ch. 44 “In the Upper Room” p.314
Egg #3: Silver Coins (mine has 3 dimes in it)
Reading: Ch. 46 “The Kiss of Judas” p.317 (In this story Bible, it doesn’t actually mention the 30 pieces of silver that Judas was paid to betray Jesus, so I just add this in at an appropriate part in the story.)
Egg #4: Feathers
Reading: Ch. 47 “Why Peter Wept” p.318
Egg #5: Whip (mine is made of some strings tied to a toothpick)
Egg #6: Purple Robe
Egg #7: Thorns
Reading: Ch. 50 “Carrying the Cross” p.322
Egg #8: Cross and Nails (my cross is made of twigs lashed together)
Egg #9: Vinegar and Sponge (I actually have a cotton ball in ours that I soak in a bit of vinegar so they can smell it)
Reading: Ch. 51 “The Sun Becomes Dark” p. 323
Egg #10: Burial Cloth and Spices (a scrap of white fabric and some cloves)
Egg #11: Rock
Reading: Ch. 52 “The Stone is Rolled Away” p.325
Egg #12: Empty!
Reading: Ch.53 “Visitors to the Tomb” p. 326
On Easter Saturday, we usually dye Easter eggs. We usually talk about how they can be a symbol of new life. My 4-year-old asked me as I was preparing the dye this year: "So, first we dye the eggs, and then they come alive again?" Well, not quite sweetheart.... At least something about the significance of this season is getting into her head, though. :)
|Brown eggs come out really pretty when you dye them, don't they? I love how they look.|
This post is getting kind of long, so I’ll share our traditions that carry us into Easter Sunday and beyond next time.