“The 40 days of Lent symbolize the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting and praying in the desert. But that number 40 was, in turn, meant to remind us of the 40 years that the Israelites spent in the desert. The Church has always seen in the Israelite’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, from bondage to liberation, an apt image of the Christian’s Lenten journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter.“
– Albert Holtz, Pilgrim Road: A Benedictine Journey Through Lent
When it comes to celebrating holiday seasons, we like to mix it up around here. (In other words, Mommy goes through phases.) And Lent has grown into a special time of teaching the kids and preparing our hearts for the gift and victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The Spirit of Lenten Past has led us to many enjoyable semi-traditions over the years:
Stations of the Cross in a home, at our wonderful church in DC, and outdoors!
A Christian Seder for Passover
“Chocolate and Grace” Almond Jars (my personal favorite)
For Lent 2014, we are trying a few new activities and observances:
Amon’s Adventure: A Family Story for Easter (an Easter story recommended by multiple friends)
Printable Lenten Prayer Calendar (a visual path to color for each day during Lent)
A Lenten Prayer Jar (simple prayers to read and discuss before/during dinner each night)
The Resurrection Garden (a beautiful project displaying Calvary and the empty tomb)
And, in an effort to spend more time in intentional connection with God, I am fasting from evening TV shows that tend to be “escape-oriented” instead of truly restful. In an effort to “put off” the negative and “put on” the positive, I am filling that time with a couple of good books that come highly recommended.
Our book club is reading the aforementioned Pilgrim Road: A Benedictine Journey Through Lent (short, daily readings that make insightful connections between the authors travels and spiritual reflections) and our church life group is finishing up The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows (a labor of love to set straight the narratives we have falsely acquired about God with simple opportunities for practicing spiritual disciplines.)
And if one were to choose a “theme verse” for Lent 2014, this would be mine:
“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land, and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” – Isaiah 58:11
And may we remember that, “Lent is not a project to be accomplished but rather an opportunity to let God act in us.” – Albert Holtz
How do you prepare your heart for Easter?