Seasonal Rhythms Part 2: Our Lent Traditions
Traditions can function as a sort of anchor for our hearts in the midst of an ever shifting world. They anchor children's minds and hearts to the faith and culture that spurs on that family. One reason why I love living by the liturgical year is that our family seems to just flow from one right into the next. God has designed the seasons, both the yearly seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter; as well as the church seasons, and the weather to flow together. Of course, things don't always match up perfectly, and often we find that our culture strives to pull us away from the deeper meanings of the season and into it's distorted view of holidays: focusing on consumption and fleeting pleasure. We can swim upstream against what our culture tells us holidays and traditionally Christian seasons are about. Traditions are part of how we do that.
With each tradition that we've adopted as our own in our family, I find myself (and our family as a whole) called deeper into the meaning of the season. Without the small touches around our home, or the rhythms instated daily and weekly, we would just as easily float through Lent without giving it much contemplation. The below ideas are just that, ideas. Take what fits into your family culture and season and apply it. If you have other traditions that you do for Lent, Holy Week and Easter - I'd love to hear! On Friday I will share more about Easter and the tradtions we have for that day/season.
LENTEN JOURNEY: This is a poster that my friend Audrey painted. I printed it large, I believe it was 24 x 36 in. I had it laminated and write every year on it with a dry erase marker. We keep it really simple since our kids are so small and we don't have the margin to do tons of things every day, nor do our kids always cooporate. However, we rotate with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (service to others) throughout the month as we "walk the road" and it's fun for the kids + helps them understand in a more tangible way what our focus is during Lent.
PASSION TREE: We gathered branches from around our neighborhood and put them in a large jar in the living room. (We use this same stick bundle during Advent). Each morning I read to the kids from this short devotional and Reaghan can hang a painting on the tree. I like the use of classical art, as it brings a soberness to the season that we need, especially in the visual reminder of always walking past the tree and looking at it. Find the devotional + art printables here.
DECORATE: The only decor we have is the passion tree, a purple ribbon tied around the jar of the passion tree, the lenten journey poster, some little lambs I found for 99 cents last year at Walmart in the spring section, and some candles during Holy Week.
DEVOTIONAL: Each year can be different when it comes to this, but this year I found a free devotional from Shelly Miller. She wrote the book Rhythms of Rest that I read and loved so much last year. When you subscribe to her blog, you can get her Lent devotional for free.
EASTER/LENT BOOK BASKET: As with every season, I collect books from the library about the season so we can read about it during our morning time. I find that reading books with our kids spurs on great conversations. I like this book basket list.
7 CANDLES: I loved this article from Noël Piper. There's a couple different ways you can do this, but she suggests that for those with little children, we light candles each day of Holy Week extinguishing them out one at a time until all are extinguished on Good Friday. The candles represent the light going dimmer and dimmer until it's snuffed out at Jesus' death. On Easter, they are all lit to celebrate the light of the world conquering sin and death!
MORNING TIME: I will be using this free resource this year to be intentional with the kids during Holy Week. Holy Week is the culmination of Lent, leading up to Easter Sunday. Each day there is a scripture reading, hymn (links included in the pack to listen), prayer, a picture study and poem. Find it here.
GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE: Your church may or may not offer this, but if they do, I highly suggest attending. The celebration of Easter is so much more fruitful when we have fully prepared and felt the weight of Jesus' persecution, suffering and death. How can we fully rejoice in salvation if we don't know what we were freed from?