Lent could be one of the most confusing seasons of the church year for most Christians. Many associate it with Roman Catholicism or a rigid form of legalism. Let me help explain the meaning and purpose of Lent and then offer some ways that you can bring Lent to life in your home.
At Lent, we remember Christ’s temptation, suffering, and death. During Easter, we celebrate the glorious resurrection of Christ. Lent is a forty-day period beginning on Ash Wednesday that concludes the day before Easter. The climax of Lent is Holy Week, which is the week immediately preceding Easter or Resurrection Sunday. It is observed in many Christian churches as a time to commemorate and reenact the last week of Jesus’ life, his suffering (passion), and his death, through various observances and services of worship.
Lent is a wonderful season that helps us remember the last days of Jesus, his death, burial, and resurrection either as individuals or as families. Here are ten ideas to help you bring Lent to life as you celebrate this season with your family.
- During Lent you can give up things like fast food, TV, technology, sweets, electronic games, using the computer, or buying anything that is unneeded.
- As a reminder that we are like clay in God’s hands, shatter inexpensive clay pots and give each family member a piece to keep during Lent.
- During Lent, plan simple meals and let everyone at your table share an idea for helping hungry people. Save the extra money to give to others in need. Ask God to help you carry out one of these ideas.
- Slow down and plan time together and enrich your family life. This time for families at home can include prayer, devotions, crafts, art, games, and meals.
- Pretzels have their origin in the early church, and they were traditionally made of only flour, salt, and water. Pretzels were shaped in the form of arms crossed in prayer. Choose one night in Lent to make pretzels. Find a recipe on the Internet.
- Go through your house and give away unused toys and clothes to the poor. Or have a yard sale and donate the profits to your favorite charity.
- Choose something good you can do each day of Lent like helping a neighbor, visiting a nursing home, or making cookies or a meal for a shut in.
- Eggs remind us of the new life that is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When you dye Easter eggs, think about what the colors mean: red—Jesus’ blood, purple—royalty, green—new life, gold—resurrection.
- Plant a seed to teach your children about the resurrection and rebirth. Explain how the planting a seed symbolizes the death of Jesus and how the sprouting seed symbolizes His rebirth.
- Have your children make artwork like a colorful cross, or posters that say “He Is Risen!” or “Our Redeemer Lives!” and hang them on the wall, door, or refrigerator.
Find out more with Winfield’s new book Grow at Home: A Beginner’s Guide to Family Discipleship. Written for families of all ages and backgrounds, Grow at Home unpacks these ideas with a practical guide to family discipleship. When we bring the gospel back in the home, it will spread through our neighborhoods and into the communities where we live. Let the journey begin!