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Growing up I didn’t really know a whole lot about Lent.  Even though my dad was a pastor, it just wasn’t something that we observed in our family’s Easter traditions.  It wasn’t until after college that I began to learn more about the tradition and participate in different aspects of observing Lent and it has become a very meaningful experience for me.

Lent is a time of preparation  for Easter.  A time of ‘getting ready’ to remember and celebrate Jesus death and resurrection.  In the early days of the Church it was a time for new believers to learn about their faith and prepare to be baptized.  Traditionally, Lent is the forty days before Easter (not counting Sundays) and begins on Ash Wednesday.  Many people use this time as a season of repentance and inward reflection.

There are 4 spiritual acts of Lent that have historically been practiced among believers during the Lenten season.

  • giving to the poor
  • prayer
  • fasting (or abstaining)
  • repentance

Recognizing Lent as a family can offer a valuable time for your family to create traditions together.  These traditions will help your children understand the celebration of Easter and will create meaningful memories for your family.  Participating in Lent can also open up a spiritual dialogue within your family to discuss why we celebrate Easter and why it is important. 

Here are some different activities to consider doing with your family:

Donate  As a family, gather items from around your house that could be donated to a local organization.  Clothing, gently used toys, and non-perishable food items could help families in need.  Discuss with your children why you are doing this and where the items are going.

Collect Save your spare change or designate a certain amount of money each week to go toward a charity or ministry that helps the poor.  Consider having your child give a portion of their own money or allowance toward this.

Volunteer  Find a local organization (soup kitchen, homeless shelter, neighbor in need) that you can volunteer some time at as a family.

Pray  Create a prayer list or prayer box where you can write down different items to pray for as a family.  Set aside a time each day to pray together and recognize how God has answered your prayers.

Memorize  Read the Lord’s Prayer together and set a goal to memorize it as a family.  (Matthew 6:9-13)

Fasting  Give up something together as a family.  It could be for the entire season of Lent or just focus on one week or even one activity.  Replace that thing with a God-focused experience if possible.  Some suggestions would be giving up a favorite family TV show or take the money you would have spent to go out to dinner together and buy food for a food pantry.

New Life  Find an activity to do with your children that can represent the ‘new life’ we have in Christ.  This could be a
special craft/activity, planting some spring flowers, or making resurrection eggs.

Family Devotions  Spend some time during the Lent season reading the Bible together and talking about repentance.  The ministry of Jesus, Jonah, and the Easter Story (Mark 14-16; Luke 22-24) are some passages you can focus on.

Download a copy of  the Family Activities for Lent to use with your family.

You can also find some additional resources on Family Activities for Lent here or here.

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What's In The Bible

After reading Larry Shallenberger’s review here, I did a litttle research and I can’t wait to get my hands on Phil Vischer’s new project What’s in the Bible?. (Tyndale… will you send me a copy, too?)  This DVD series looks like it is going to meet a need to give kids the big picture of what the Bible is about.  So many times we just pull stories and lessons out to share with our kids.  It can be hard for them to see the many different ways the bigger Story connects together.

Watch the trailer…

My respect has grown for Phil Vischer after hearing more about his journey and listening to him here.  And the fact that this projects includes Rhett and Link has already sold it for me.

Although I haven’t viewed the DVD yet, from a ministry perspective I am probably going to agree with Larry when he says that these videos may need some adaptation for them to work effectivly in a class setting.  In my ministry we would only consider using something in a 10 min max. chunk each week to allow for interaction and discussion within our 30 minute window of class time.   However, it looks like a great resource to reccomend to families to view together and to create discussions at home.  I’ll let you know when I get to see it!

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10. The Miracle Maker – great movie!

9. Cadbury eggs – yum!

8. Palm Sunday Baptisms – our church has a traditions of doing baptisms on Palm Sunday.  It is one of the most powerful services we have every year.

7. Easter Baskets – my mom always used to hide our Easter baskets in the house and we would get up and search for them before church.

6. Easter Breakfast – another tradition our church has is a free community breakfast before our combinded Easter service at our local high school (we usually have 3 services every Sunday).  It is a great time for our entire church to come together once a year.

5. New Easter Outfit – I always get a new outfit for Easter Sunday… do you?

4. Easter Bunny cake – my mom has a great (easy) recipe/instructions for making an Easter Bunny cake… it looks something like this:

Bunny Cake

3.  Decorating eggs – its been a few years since I have done this but I know it will be something that I do again once I have kids that are older.

2. Family Dinner – always a big part of our Easter Sunday…

1. Experiencing Jesus Passion – this is an event that I am involved in on Thursday at our church that is an experiential journey through Christ’s last hours including worship, drama, and the creative arts.  It is incredibly powerful and for me it is a great way to get focused on the true meaning of Easter.

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Want to see some more Top Ten Tuesday lists?  Hop over to ohamanda.com and visit the other Top Ten Tuesday links.  There are some great posts out there!

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