Every January, our church community rings in the new year with a week of daily, evening prayer and encourages the whole community to fast. This year, we talked to the kids at dinner about the different types of fasting, and (amazingly) they all agreed on three types of fasts that they were willing to try….for one week each: media fast, processed food fast, meat fast.
The kids did REALLY well with the fasting…I was amazed. Somewhere in the middle, one child asked at dinner if we could “do lent” this year. I know they’ve heard about their catholic friends “giving up” something for lent, so I asked what they had in mind. I went on to tell them that we could certainly “do lent” as long they kept with the purpose of lent.
As long as whatever you’re doing or giving up is drawing you closer to God.….(in other words, giving-up pop or chocolate isn’t going to make you a better Christian, nor is it going to bring you closer to God)
So…with that in mind, we set out to make a list of small things to do each day, or things to give up, that would help us to act in a way pleasing to God, as well as things to strengthen our faith. (download our list here: lent jar)
I typed up the list, cut them into strips, and put them all in a jar. Each dinner during the season of lent, we draw one out of the jar. We discuss what it means, and hang it on the fridge as our challenge for the next day. As we finish each challenge, we tape them onto a picture that’s hanging on the wall in the kitchen. Amidst all of the bunnies and Easter eggs, those little strips of paper remind us to take time and prepare our hearts for Easter.