Monday, February 13, 2012

Preparing for Lent/40 Days Part 1

Goal: FINISH (completely!) my wall hanging for our Lenten project

Our Advent Jesse Tree has been SO successful* I've always wanted to repeat it in some way during the weeks leading up to Easter. I need something visual, especially for the children; something catechetical so we're learning and growing, not bored; something structured so we're not just jumping around without purpose; and something enjoyable that creates memories our whole family looks forward to even while it's focused on sacrifice and repentance. This year I'm going to make it happen and what that means for each day of Lent will be posted here.

I decided to make a felt wall hanging with a pocket for each of the 40 days. Each day we will put a button in the day's pocket. Children need something visual, so some other ideas to make this visual are:
Made by Cristin Luea
  • posterboard marked off like a calendar with 40 squares
  • a glass jar, cup, or vase or a bowl filled each day with one more button, bead, or rock
  • outline the 40 days on a regular calendar with purple or blue marker
  • forsythia or dead branches set in a vase with the paper hearts (see below) tied on each day with string
  • for private or semi-private sacrifices, fold paper squares or paper hearts and drop each day into an opaque container
  • my friend Cristin made this chart for her family, numbering 46 to include Sundays as well as weekdays and Saturdays between Ash Wednesday and Easter. If you would like to use it, print a copy for your family or for each child and cross off one stepping stone each day beginning Feb. 22.
Each day we will also write down or draw the sacrifice we are planning to make that day on a paper heart with the sacrifice we are making for that day. My husband and I usually choose at least one sacrifice for the whole season, but I think even one full day at a time will be stretching my 3.5yr old's understanding. One of my primary goals this year is to teach our children why we choose to make sacrifices, at least at the preschool level. 

Next Monday I will post Part 2, a list of the themes and goals for each week.

*Successful means: Children remember and anticipate it throughout the year, it significantly improves our ability to focus on Christ's birth at Christmastime, our whole family grows in our understanding of God's work throughout history in preparing for the Messiah, and it helps us in creating a family culture centered on the Lord.

Linked to Works for Me Wednesday

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