Starting This Year’s Lenten Journey

Although we were on a break from school this past week, we took some time to talk about the tradition of Lent.  Our church doesn’t celebrate it (though many of our friends do so privately), and while we’ve done a few things as a family in years past, I wasn’t sure any of children would remember.  I wanted to keep things uncomplicated this year, so we’re just doing two simple things each day.

Family JourneyFirst, we read from A Family Journey with Jesus Through Lent: Prayers and Activities for Each Day by Angela M. Burrin.  There is a a story each day, told from the perspective of a child witnessing different experiences in Jesus’ life.  Then there is a section called “Jesus, Speak to Me,” which consists of a devotional thought told as though Jesus himself is addressing the reader.  Each day also features a memory verse and a short prayer.  The book is specifically written for Catholic families, and there have been a few minor changes I’ve made as I read aloud, but overall I have found it to be a wonderful fit for our family.  The stories are told in an engaging manner, and my boys are learning about the geography of the area as they look up the different towns from which the children telling the stories come.

Lent 2After we read, we turn down the lights (our dining room has no window), sit around our table and one child moves the candle and Christ figure on our “Cradle-to-Cross” wreath from JoyWares.  That child then lights the candle and prays for our day, focusing on the prompt from the reading.  Finally, they blow it out and we start our day.  I love how all the children are drawn to the solemnity of this morning ceremony.  They all get so quiet as we watch the candle and pray, and I think all of us enjoy having that sacred moment before diving into the rest of the day’s business.

Amon's AdventureIn the evenings, we’re also going through Amon’s Adventure: A Family Story for Easter by Arnold Ytreeide.  It doesn’t have a chapter for each day, so we’re just reading it with Daddy a few evenings a week.  We’ve enjoyed two of Ytreeide’s Advent books, so I knew this would be a special treat for everyone to help us draw our hearts to Jesus during this season.