Lent begins on Ash Wednesday in one week’s time, on March 9th. So, I have been thinking how we are going to observe it this year. Lent is the period of preparation before Easter, it last for 40 days (excluding Sundays) to commemorate the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness. The name Lent comes from the old English word for Spring, referring to the gradually lengthening days of spring.
Traditionally it is a time of prayer, charitable giving and confession and provides an opportunity for the renewal of spiritual disciplines, meditation and reflection. Actually, although I enjoy contemplative prayer and meditative worship I don’t always find Lent an easy time to observe, especially within our family, which is perhaps why it is good for us to persevere. It takes a commitment on all our parts to persist in our chosen disciplines and to carve out time in the schedule on a regular basis. My boys are not naturally quiet meditative types, neither is my husband and so we must try to find a balance between stillness and activity.
My plans for Lent so far include using Count your Blessings resources from the Christian Aid website.This excellent resource suggests practical actions that encourage thankfulness and generosity which I find puts a positive spin on giving something up – my kids are not quite ready to fast yet. To satisfy my need for meditation and because I want to teach my kids the value of stillness and quiet in prayer we will do the Stations of the Cross using some beautiful meditations by the artist Carol Douglas. A Lenten Pilgrimage
The Stations of the Cross is a meditation that follows the journey of Jesus from his arrest to his burial. It originated in the pilgrimages that early Christians made on the streets of Jerusalem following the final steps of Jesus to his death.
We will also make pretzels one weekend which are shaped like arms folded in prayer to remind us of the purpose of Lent, they are delicious warm from the oven and an activity we can do together. On Ash Wednesday I plan to plant wheat grass with the children, we did this last year and they thoroughly enjoyed it and are keen to do it again, my oldest son particularly because it involves burning things up. More about that and other ideas will follow.
How do you plan to observe Lent? I would enjoy hearing your ideas and thoughts.