Friday, February 01, 2008


The season of Lent begins this Wednesday and I have been invited to take part in the Anglican Family Lent Carnival hosted by Kerry at A Ten O'Clock Scholar with help from Jeanne of At A Hen's Pace. They have asked us to share the following on our blogs:

How do you observe Lent in your personal and family life?
What traditions do you find most meaningful?
What new spiritual disciplines might you undertake or which ones would you commend to others?
How do you bring young ones on the path with Jesus through the desert-season of Lent?

First let me tell you that I am not an Anglican. I was raised in the Episcopal church and attended with my parents for most of my life. Currently I attend a conservative, evangelical, non-denominational church and you can find out all about that here. A few years ago I developed a passion for returning holidays to the holy days they were intended to be. I began exploring the roots of these special days and started using them to teach my children about our faith. I have found this a wonderful tool for turning our hearts to God and continually reminding us what He has done for us. So that brings me back to Lent....

The ancient church developed a calendar of special days to relive the events of Jesus' life. Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter that are meant to represent the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness. It is a time of reflection and preparation for the celebration of a risen Saviour. You can find more information about Lent here and here.

Since we will have a break in the weather this weekend, I'll be getting a few things ready in our house for helping us to observe this time. In my home I place a wreath with thorns in my kitchen with a purple candle. Last year my wreath was made with rose canes but this year I collected some thorns from Hawthorne tree that I will use. I was thinking today about this wreath and how strange it may seem to place it out. For me it is a reminder of how our Lord suffered for us. When I happened to look at it I found myself reflecting on that which helped me to keep my focus on Christ during that time.

I'll also take some time to clean up our Easter Garden that we made last year. My children particularly enjoyed this aspect of the season. I'll talk more about that in later posts.
As always there will be special foods! On Shrove Tuesday we will have pancakes and we will talk about how Christians used this day to get rid of the rich food products they wouldn't be eating during Lent. Which will lead us to a discussion of why some choose to fast during this time. We will make pretzels and hot cross buns on Good Friday.

My family really enjoys doing devotions centered around an advent wreath at Christmas and I would like to do weekly devotions during Lent as well. I like these devotions and we may read them while burning the candle in my wreath. Lighting a candle just seems to bring a formality and special warmth to devotions. Our devotions during advent ended with singing O Come Emmanuel and I'd like to find a hymn appropriate for Lent to end Lenten devotions. If you have suggestions please leave them in the comments!

And we will watch movies. Just like the church learned in the Middle Ages, people learn well through theatre. Our family will watch Jesus Christ Superstar , The Gospel of John, and The Ten Commandments. My husband and I will watch Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ. The Passion is difficult to watch but a masterful work of art.

So those are my plans. I'll let you know as we go along how we are doing and I welcome your comments about your activities as well.