Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent: 40 Days of Anticipation ... making it tangible

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. I've been pondering this thing called Lent for a long time now and I think I finally have a plan on how to make it - a special time of anticipation - while also making it tangible for the children. A few years ago we began a family tradition of Advent. That tradition has become special to all of us as we read the Scriptures together and think about the birth of Jesus. This year we are going to do a similar activity together during the 40 days of Lent ... leading up to Resurrection Day. My friend, and college roommate, gave me a kit of symbols, and a book with suggested Scripure Readings that we will use each day leading up to Resurrection Day. 

But that is not all we will do. While the Scripture readings  will be a focused time of anticipation and reflection ... and the symbols are even a tangible way to express the readings ... I still wanted something more... I just didn't know what, until I read this blog post written by a friend from college...

It was just the idea that I was looking for to implement into our family for this time of  Lent. So, I bought the supplies that I needed and tomorrow we begin this time of anticipation ... together. Each day we will read a Scripture Passage together that will lead us to the cross. The idea is that we focus on being repentant for our sins and as much as we can remember and as we are convicted, place a toothpick in the "crown" as a symbol of our sins being on Jesus. 

Supplies for the Crown of Thorns: styrofoam wreath, wooden toothpicks, and purple fabric

Process: Start with an empty wreath. Each day confess our sin to one another and place a toothpick into the crown. 

The night before Resurrection Day, I am going to remove all of the toothpicks and wrap the wreath in purple fabric for the children to see on the next morning. No more thorns. Jesus is Alive. Sins are washed away by the blood of Christ for those who believe in Him!

Jesus bore our sins! What a tangible way for the children to see that! My prayer is that even the youngest ones will understand the significance or our need for a Savior! I pray that our family will draw closer together as we confess our sins to one another. There is no question that children need to be taught about repentance and even more importantly have it modeled for them ... so, I hope that this will be an exercise of humility for all of us as we come together as sinners recognizing our need for forgiveness.

John 14:6

New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

New King James Version (NKJV)

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.


  1. What a wonderful, tangible way to confess and be grateful for what Jesus did for each of us, and to anticipate the miracle of His resurrection.

  2. I love this, Larissa! The symbols remind me so much of the Jesse Tree symbols, and I too love that you are doing something that will remind the children of our need for a Savior.

  3. This is AWESOME! I feel bad that I wait for you to investigate and come up with all these great ideas, then I do them at our house. :) I really like the wreath idea. That is something so simple that will have such a lasting effect. As always, thanks for the ideas and keep them coming!

  4. Oh thank you! I loved your ideas. And I love to see when God leads more than one of us in a specific direction - in this case the power of the cross of Christ, which is also my focus for this season of Lent 2012. I'll have to check back regularly for more fun ideas to add to my own that I share with my grandkids. And to share with you OUR favorite, which are the Easter Resurrection Eggs that you can make or buy (including from FamilyLife.com). It's a fun way to help them learn and share the whole Easter story. Have a blessed Lent! :)