Tips for Lent at Home

Tips for Lent at Home


By Barbara Laufersweiler

Creativity

Set out art supplies. Tell a shepherd-oriented Bible story very simply or read the Good Shepherd story (Psalm 23 & John 10) from a book such as Tomie dePaola's Parables of Jesus.

Suggest that your children use any of the art materials to make something about the story on the paper or with clay or whatever the supplies are. Enjoy what they create.

Outdoors

Cut a twig or two from a spring-blooming shrub that is starting to show buds. Put it in a vase of water indoors so it will bloom early.

Play

Create or adapt a play set of a shepherd, some sheep, and a sheepfold. Tell, and then act out the Good Shepherd parable (Psalm 23 & John 10). Leave the play set available for this. After a few weeks, add a sheep that is the lost sheep of the parable.

Food

Find a simple pretzel recipe, and, with your children, learn to make pretzels. Pretzels were once a special Lenten food for Christians. Some say the twisted center is arms crossed in prayer.

Lent Points to Easter

It seems almost easy to "do" the season of Lent in our homes. We give up some things we like and resolve to do some things we usually avoid; we may avoid meat on Fridays in Lent. Without some thought, though, it's easy to let Lent stop there. To create an atmosphere that shows to our children the meaning of Lent, we need to keep in mind that Lent always points to Easter.

Lent isn't an end in itself; its purpose is to make way in our hearts and our lives for the great events of Holy Week and Easter, and the full 50 days of Easter celebration afterward. This is a great story arc that begins with Ash Wednesday, peaks with the events upon which our faith rests - Jesus's passion, death, and resurrection - and eventually comes to rest at Pentecost.

In addition to the typical Lenten activities, which young children will probably not understand fully, enrich your family life during Lent in other ways. Choose activities, stories, and play that highlight things coming to life, or the spareness and simplicity of the season, or themes of Easter to come.

A twig's green wood underneath a scraped-away outer layer. Budding and blooming plants. A simplified home decor. Quiet evenings enjoying each others' company without the television. Delicious, simple meals of good soup and bread.

Finally, begin to look ahead, in your storytelling, playtime, books, and more, to the great stories of Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter.

You'll find ideas for Holy Week and Easter, and storytelling tips, at Faith at Home.

About the author



Barbara Laufersweiler is an at-home mom, an Episcopalian, and the creator of Faith at Home, a Web site offering help to parents as they explore and enjoy faith with their children. Copyright © 2001 Barbara K. Laufersweiler. All rights reserved.

 

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