“Celebrating” Lent

Only a few more weeks until the glorious celebration of Easter.

It is easy to get so caught up in the planning and preparation for any event that we lose sight of the reason for the celebration. We obsess over details and become consumed with perfection. And then it becomes a chore, a drudgery, something to be endured – not celebrated.  Right now we are in the midst of the Holy Season of Lent.

I have almost no recollection of my church observing Lent when I was a child. Good Friday, yes – but not the 40 days of Lent. Perhaps it was my denomination that began to more actively promote the practices of reflection, examination, self-denial and repentance in my early adult years. Or maybe I just began paying attention.

Regardless of how it happened, I am very thankful. While Easter is full of joy, laughter, color and truly jubilant celebration; Lent is darker with shades of black and gray, the contemplation of our spiritual status, and an anticipation of spiritual renewal. It seems a far more appropriate time to take stock of our lives and commit ourselves to fresh beginnings than on New Year’s Day. Just as the gray and barren landscape gives way to bursts of green meadows, wild buttercups and the hint of tiny leaves; our hearts can shed the burdens of guilt, fear, anxiety and doubt as we walk through Lent into the resurrection power of Easter.

Instead of focusing on the external trappings of an Easter celebration, I encourage you to invite the “celebration” of Lent into your home. Young children are never too small to become familiar with the practices of contemplation and reflection. They are better at it than adults for most of their conversation begins with the word “why.”  Last year I created a very simple tablescape to honor and celebrate the importance of Lent and Holy Week. It achieved exactly what I desired:

  • Each time I looked at it I called to mind what happened during Holy Week.  Why it was necessary and how it has impacted my life.
  • My grandchildren asked many questions about why the table was set differently. Why is the silverware in the shape of a cross? Why does the wheat look sad? Why do you have a “fancy” plate on top of this rough stuff? On and on. And it was wonderful because it allowed me to tell the story, for their reflection as well as mine.

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Try some small visual representation to observe Lent in your home this season. It’s not too late. And don’t make this about something else to do. It is an opportunity for sharing, nurturing and growing. Just remember:

Simple is best.

Use what you have available.

Involve your little ones.

Think about the significance of each item.

Tell the story.

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“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Johns 10:10 NASB

In His grace,

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