Most people think of Easter as a day or at most a weekend. However, the church worldwide celebrates Easter as a season called Lent. Lent is another word for “Easter season” (like Christmas season) restoring Easter from a single weekend to the far more robust and transformative holiday it was meant to be.
Practically, we do this by setting boundaries (denying) and setting goals (doing). For Lent, some fast food. Some fast from self-focus, meaning, instead of just doing their own thing with their own time and their own stuff – they commit to hospitality – generously sharing themselves (and a few resources) hosting in or treating out to connect with and focus on others. Some fast media to create margin for real conversations.
Lent (not on paper but real life): It will be messy – fasting is great on paper, in real life it is awkward and distracting (it’s OK). For those on social media – this is your moment to unplug and reset your heart.
Fast one day a week.
Give up one food item entirely.
Give up social media.
Turn off all devices at 8 pm – no “checking” anything!
Reading through Christ’s “sermon on the mount” (Matt 5-7). Preferably with a partner.
Commit to the amount of sleep you need each night.
Meet up with one person a week for lunch.
Every day use the words, “So how are you?” or “What’s big on your radar?”
Read a Lenten devotional. Here are a few online options:
“Sometimes people choose a sin or bad habit to give up, following the theme that Lent is a time to repent. Sometimes people choose to give up something pleasurable, following the theme of denying yourself for the sake of Christ…. The idea is to eliminate something from your life in deference to God, both to free yourself and to focus on your relationship with Him…. If you want to give up something for Lent, what about selfishness? Ask God to reveal the root of your own selfish motives, actions and desires and then, cut that root. It could be the start of something revolutionary in your life.” – Amon’s Adventures by Arnold Ytreeide
For every day of Lent, bag up something to donate to someone or to some organization.
On 40 slips of paper write someone or something you can pray for. Form slips of paper into a paper chain. Tear off one link each day and pray for what’s written on the paper.
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones (for all ages)
Amon’s Adventures: A Family Story for Easter by Arnold Ytreeide (especially good for upper elementary and older)
The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs (especially good for preschool and elementary)
This will have extra meaning if done concurrent with a reading of The Parable of the Lily (above).
This is a free, downloadable, 12-day list of sensory activities for experiencing Easter with preschool and elementary children.
Here are the links to two different recipes, both with awesome teaching opportunities!
Recipe #1 CAUTION: contains nuts
Pretzels were first baked during Lent because they can be made with only water, flour, and salt. The shape came from a posture of prayer (arms crossed with hands on opposite shoulders). The three-in-one shape also can be used to explain the Trinity. Recipe