Family Activities during Lent

Many families have a good idea of how to incorporate a daily spiritual practice during Advent—opening Advent calendars, lighting candles, saying prayers. But what about Lent? Since Lent is more penitential it may harder to work with it. Here are suggestions with links for more information on how to make it work How to make Lent work at home?
  1. Lenten cards
  2. Download the cards here Cut out the cards, fold them in half, and place them in a jar or small box. Place the jar or other container in a central location in the home, perhaps on the dining room table or the counter next to the fridge. Invite each family member to draw out a paper and focus on its Lenten living suggestion that day or week. Make this a regular activity during Lent. Alternately, one person could draw out an activity card that everyone in the family will use to inform their actions that day.
  1. Candles for Lent
Arrange seven candles on your dining table or somewhere prominent. We use six purple and one white, but you can do whatever you like. As we light the candles, we say: We light the first candle to remind us that Jesus is wise. We light the second candle to remind us that Jesus and the prophets make us brave. We light the third candle to remind us that Jesus gives us important jobs to do to make the world better. We light the fourth candle to remind us that Jesus gives us a fresh start whenever we need one. We light the fifth candle to remind us that Jesus is in charge of life (and death). We light the sixth candle to remind us that Jesus is a surprising King. We light the seventh candle to remind us that Jesus is alive.
  1. Make a purple paper chain prayer streamer, ring by ring, adding to it daily
  2. Connect Children to Jesus verbally
When you do the recycling or turn off a light in an empty room, talk about how ‘it’s important to take care of God’s earth’. When you intervene in a squabble, remind children that Jesus wants us to be kind. If you sometimes make a quick silent prayer for a friend or as an ambulance passes, try doing it out loud. When a child makes a great choice, connect their growing wisdom and maturity with following Jesus or being filled with the Holy Spirit (as far as is appropriate and true for them): ‘I love how the Holy Spirit is helping you to be wiser every day.’
  1. Try a simple meal once a week and connect with fasting
Once a week the family could eat a simple, cheap meal, like soup, or rice and donate the money saved to a particular charitable cause. Once a week you could all cook extra helpings together to drop off to someone who needs a break from cooking (a new parent, someone who’s sick, someone who lives alone).
  1. Environmental challenges – get rid of the excess at home and donate to “Goodwill”, clean up trash in your neighborhood.
  1. Lent in a Bag – is a paper bag containing items such as sand, a rock, a flower bulb or seed, a shell, a human figure (clothes pin or small doll) and a candle, and instructions on how each of these items can invoke a conversation about Lent.

     

    http://www.buildfaith.org/lent-in-a-bag/
  1. Circular Lenten Wreath

     

    “Inspired by the gorgeous circular Lenten wreath I saw at A Holy Experience, I decided to try my hand at making my own version at home. I love having a visual symbol for the family to gather around for our evening devotions as we did during Advent. I wanted to incorporate some Lenten symbols into the craft as well. I made sure to work in the color purple (the liturgical color of the season) and also burlap–representing the sack cloths people wore while fasting during biblical times.” http://www.weelittlemiracles.com/2011/03/idea-for-your-family-this-lent.html
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