Feb 20 2012

Celebrating Lent with our Families!

2012 is flying by!  It is hard to believe that this coming Wednesday, February 22nd, is the first day of one my favorite times of year…Lent.  What is Lent?  Great question!

Lent (the word comes from the Middle English word for “spring”) is a six-week season in the Christian year prior to Easter.  Technically, Lent comprises the 40 days before Easter, not counting the Sundays, or 46 days in total.  If Lent is something new for you, I highly recommend Dr. Mark Roberts article “How Lent Can Make a Difference in your Relationship with God”, which gives a wonderful, easy to read and understand, explanation of what Lent is about and its history.

Lent is celebrated by Catholics, yes.  But it is also celebrated by many Evangelical and Reformed Protestant Christians as well. 

Lent is a very special time of year for me and for my family!  It is a wonderful time that we can use as a special time of renewing, reflection and surrendering every area of our lives to Jesus…and let Him be our Savior and our Lord!  The six weeks of Lent are great opportunities to really focus on Jesus, His life, His death and His resurrection…and the amazing gift of life and soul transforming Grace He gives us through His death and resurrection!

The first five weeks of Lent all lead up to the most amazing week of them all…Holy Week, which can be a very powerful week of focus on our Lord as we prepare for Easter Sunday.  Holy Week happens to  be my favorite week of the entire year!!!

Since Lent officially begins on Wednesday, February 22nd, I just had to share some of the ideas that I have found around the internet that are perfect to use with families!  We are going to be using many of them with our own family!  But in the meantime I thought I would share the links so that you can browse through them and find some that will work for your own family.

This is just a partial list, to be sure, there are so many great ideas out there!  I will be sharing more links as I find them over in the Unwrapping His Grace Facebook Community so be sure to “Like” my page so you don’t miss anything!  And I would love for you to tell me about the ones you try and you can even share pictures of your family enjoying them, if you would like to share!

Some of the ideas are in blogs that list other Lent activities…but I am only highlighting the ones that I am totally excited about trying with our kids or that I thought you might like to try out.

So here goes!  I hope you find some new ways to learn about and celebrate Jesus’ life, death and resurrection during the next six weeks!

I absolutely love this one!!!  It is the Agnus Dei Lamb of God wash cloth!!!  Isn’t that just precious?!  They include video and printable instructions!!!  It comes from the website “Making Music – Praying Twice”.  Here’s the principle behind the reasoning behind the wash cloth lamb as described on their website…

This activity can help your young child remember this simple fact:  We say Jesus is the Lamb of God because He took away our sins by dying on the Cross for us.  When we sin, we do things we know God does not want us to do.  This makes our souls “dirty” and unfit for Heaven.  The Lamb of God takes away our sins so we can be clean again and fit for Heaven!  Our Lamb wash cloths can take away the dirt from our bodies at  bath time, to help us remember what Jesus did for us.

Now do you see why I love Lenten Devotional activities to use with our children?  Love the imagery here!

Another favorite of mine is making homemade pretzels with our children!  The tradition of pretzels actually goes back to Lenten traditions.  The word “pretzel” is a German word meaning “little arms.” The dough was shaped in such a way to look like two arms crossed in prayer.  The RCA website shares a wonderful recipe and the story behind how and why pretzels were commonly made and shared on the first day of Lent, which is known as Ash Wednesday (some churches use ashes to make a small cross on foreheads during a service to remind them that from dust we have come and to dust we shall return–hence the name, Ash Wednesday).

I am going to make homemade pretzels with our children this year and share the story behind them.  They LOVE homemade pretzels and this is a great way of sharing more of the story of God’s love and our relationship with Him.  I used to use something similar all the time many years ago when I was a youth minister.  Kids of all ages, including teens and young children, really get into it!  The best part is that this article shows us how to make them from scratch or using frozen bread dough!  Now what could be simpler than that?!


Thrivingfamily.com shared some great ideas for Holy Week that can be used for Holy Week, specifically, or you could use some of the ideas at different times throughout Lent in an article called, “Easter Activities and Crafts”.  They shared so many wonderful ideas that could be used as is or adapted for your own family.  Things like: making a tree from a branch and hanging small pictures of things that represent Jesus- a picture of a lamp representing the Light of the World, a lamb for the Lamb of God and so many others!

I love the idea of emphasizing the fact that Jesus is the Bread of Life and making homemade bread of some kind with our children and making an extra loaf or two to put in a special baskets lined with a pretty dish towel with a special butter and a cute little butter knife, and a small Bible to go with it.   These could be taken to someone who is really struggling this year and could use the gift of hope through our Savior, Jesus.  When delivering this very special gift, find a time that is good for them so that you can spend time in a short visit celebrating Easter with them and just really listening to them and praying for them.

There are so many ideas out there in blog land to use with our families.  I plan to share more ideas for Lent with our children on Unwrapping His Grace Facebook Page and I also pin lots of ideas over on my Bible Devotions/Activities for kids Pinterest Board if you prefer to find them there!

More ideas later this week…

I plan to share some of the ways that I am planning to dig into His Word and find special time for a creative form of prayer for myself during Lent, this year.  I would also like to share a special idea for digging into His Word here on Unwrapping His Grace on Sundays during Lent.

Don’t miss out…Take a moment to sign up for the free updates through your E-Reader or in your email so you don’t miss a single post!  And be sure to join the  Unwrapping His Grace Facebook Community so you can join in the daily conversation as we “do life” together or follow me on my new Twitter page and my brand new Pinterest Page!!

And have you heard about the newest feature of Unwrapping His Grace?  We have a new private group on Facebook called “Unwrapping His Grace- Together in Prayer & His Word”.  I’d love for you to check out the scoop and consider joining us!

What are some special ways you celebrate Lent in your home?  I would love to hear about them be sure to tell me all about it in a comment below so we can all learn from each other!

Be sure to stop by and visit our wonderful February sponsor, Traci Little at Ordinary Inspirations!!!  I always come away inspired, blessed by her heart inspiration and amazing photography!

Embracing His Grace,

Mary Joy

Then check out the Titus Tuesday Linkup over at Time Warp Wife…I’m linking up!








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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/2012/02/20/celebrating-lent-with-our-families/

  • Angela

    What great ideas and resources.  I also love Lent.  Even though the church we are attending doesn’t even mention it, it has always been a part of my tradition and the tradition of the church I grew up in.  I love the church calendar, and I love teaching my husband about it as well.

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      Thanks!  I am glad you enjoyed them.  I know what you mean about the liturgical calendar.  I love celebrating the different times of year whether or not the church I am attending at the time does.  It really helps me to focus on His Word and make the holidays more about Jesus.  So cool that you do that with your husband!

      Later this week, I am going to share some of the things I am going to do in my own prayer life during this Lent.  I would love for you to share some of what you do in the comments there.  

      Have a great day, Angela!

      Mary Joy

  • http://www.seamsinspired.com Larri at Seams Inspired

    Great post and links, Mary Joy. We’re kind of hit-or-miss celebrating Lent. I grew up in a devout Catholic home, and my husband in a Greek Orthodox home. Our memories of Lent are more of the ‘rules’ and ‘guilt’ type, so there have been many years we have chosen not to participate in Lent. That said, as we continue our walk, we have found we can incorporate Lent into our family traditions and celebrate the beauty of God’s ultimate sacrifice rather than following rules. Hope that makes sense. I look forward to reading your posts as your family prepares for the Resurrection of our Lord. :) Happy Tuesday!

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