Wednesday, March 09, 2011


I received an e-mail this week from someone asking me about ideas for how to kick off Lent in a meaningful way with family devotion type activities. I admit, I was at a loss.

I am not sure I have ever broken down my denominational mutt-hood before, but I was basically unchurched as a child, a catholic school student from 7th-12th grade, while attending a baptist youth group as an adolescent. I was nondenominational in my twenties and am now Presbyterian.

As a result, I am not always the best resource for 'tradition' type questions. We use Resurrection Eggs in the two weeks before Easter, but I haven't introduced the concept of Ash Wednesday or Lent yet.

I know for a fact that many readers of this blog have GREAT ideas. So, would you mind sharing? Outside of your church activities, how do you observe Lent as a family?


Bill and Jenn said...

We don't celebrate Lent as a family either, but I was very moved by Ann's post today at She listed resources at the bottom of her post-- one looked to be a family devotional through the whole season of Lent.

Hope that helps~

Bill and Jenn said...

...That would be


Liz said...

We don't really observe Lent "officially"....I mean, we do, but we don't necessarily begin it on Ash Wednesday & fast from something for 40 days. But we do make a concerted effort to focus everyone's heart on the reason for the holiday as it gets closer.

Probably my favorite thing we do is making resurrection rolls. You take a marshmallow (represents Jesus's body) and roll it in melted butter, then cinnamon/sugar (represents the oils & spices used to prepare His body for burial), then wrap it in a cresent roll (represents the cloths they wrapped his body in). Then you put them in the oven (tomb) and bake them. When you pull them out later, the marshmallow is gone (melted) but you can still smell it & taste it (like the presence of Jesus even though we can't see Him).

Be careful to pinch the edges or "Jesus" will run out on the cookie sheet in the oven! (You might have the kids out of the room when you pull them out of the oven just in case....if you really want the "mystery" factor....but they are probably old enough to still 'get' it even if they do see that some of it ran out.)

Jani said...

We are Catholic and Lent for us does begin with Ash Wednesday Services. I was so happy when my husband (who doesn't always go to church with us on Sundays) decided to join us. It was wonderful for my family to have that experience together last night. (my Lenten prayer is that it might happen more often...but small steps...)

Anyway, we talk a lot about Lent and why we observe it as the holiest time. My second grader, who is going to celebrate his First Communion this year brought home a bowl he made in his religion class last week and that will be the center of our Lenten celebration this year. We put the bowl somewhere special, like in the middle of the family table so it is always somewhere for everyone to see. Each Sunday, there is a different symbol we will add to the bowl...this Sunday it will be a heart reminding us to look in our hearts to be sure we are living the way God wants us to. There is a band aid, a rubber band, a seed, and each week leading to Easter you put one of those things symbolic to what it represents.

Simplistic and meaningful for my boys. And they are very eager to start "putting things in the bowl."

Also, we don't really give anything up as much as we try to do better in an area we may be weak in. (of course no meat on Fridays.. :-) )

Happy Lent and Happy Easter!

Malu said...

Well, I 've never thought about it. As a Presbyterian , I think we had never had Lent or Ash Wednesday, we celebrate Easter .

anna said...

I've never seen the purpose of giving up chocolate or some such thing but this was in Guideposts many years ago and right on target I think.

First Week - The Hand of Love
Write a letter a day to a friend, someone not related to you, near or far away. Tell them how much you appreciate them.

Second Week - The Voice of Love
Telephone two or three people this week for a short chat, just to say what they mean to you or to say "Thank You" or "I'm Sorry". Call people you have intended to phone but somehow never have.

Third Week - The Deed of Love
Take something you have made or bought to two or three friends who mean a lot to you, but for whom you rarely express your love - a pie, a plant, a small remembrance that has your love as a wrapping.

Fourth Week - The Heart of Love
Make a list of at least ten people for whom you will pray daily. Include your friends, your enemies, those you don't particularly like. Forgive them if they have wronged you and ask forgiveness if you have wronged them.

Fifth Week - The Mind of Love
Use this week to pray for yourself and look inward. Read the book of John. Plan to go to church early on Palm Sunday to meditate in the sanctuary.

Sixth Week - The Victory of Love
This is the week of celebration. God's love for us is revealed, in many ways. Get outdoors and breathe in the air of Spring. Have friends in for dinner and games. Let your joy be full with life abundant in faith, hope and love.

Guideposts March 1974