Monday, March 7, 2011

preparing for Easter

In the past few years, we have observed the season of Advent during the four weeks before Christmas as a way to teach our children (and remind ourselves!) about the real reason for the holiday.  I've been delighted to find how rich and beautiful these little traditions have become to our family, especially for the kids who remember the activities from year to year - and ask for them!  It really made Christmas more meaningful for us.


In the same way, Lent is the season of preparation before Easter - the most important holiday of the year!  I am excited because this will be the first year that I have remembered been organized enough to find some books and put together a few little activities to observe this wonderful season as a family!

Lent in the Christian tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter.... The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, repentance, giving and sacrifice - to commemorate and remember the events linked to the Passion of Jesus, Easter and His Resurrection...

paraphrased from Wikipedia....for more info, read their article
I grew up thinking that Lent was all about giving up chocolate or some favored item - and eating fish on Fridays.  But over time I've learned that it is a special time set aside each year for drawing near to Jesus, having my mind and heart renewed and strengthened in Him.  Praying, examining my conscience, and giving to others are all little ways to help bring this about.  The "giving up" of something is just a small exercise in sacrifice...to remind me of the way Christ gave up everything for me on the cross.  It also makes me more aware of how the distractions of this world, the things I want & do - all can distract me away from God.  Giving up a few things for a time is just a small way to turn my eyes away from earthly things - and incline my ear to the heavenly truths of God's Word and to His still, small voice.  Like Advent before Christmas, observing Lent really helps make the celebration of Easter more meaningful.

So here's what we're going to be doing as a family over the next 40 days, to prepare our hearts and home for Easter!

~ a Jesus Tree..... we have used a Jesse Tree during Advent for years, which I really like.  So I was very happy to find this similar Bible study, focusing on the Easter holiday.  It picks up right where our Advent study ended at Jesus' birth.  Each day for our Bible lesson, the kids & I will read through the main events of Jesus' life - up through his death and resurrection.  Each lesson has a small picture-ornament to hang on the tree as a visual aid...hopefully I will have time to make a fabric tree before Wednesday.  If not, we may be making this all out of paper this year! ;)  I found the idea & instructions for the Jesus Tree from Jessica over at Shower of Roses.

~ Lent/Easter lapbook unit study.  I am putting this together on my own using printables that I have found on various blogs.  Some topics I'm including - a Lent calendar (Easter countdown!), prayer, repentence & God's forgiveness, Salvation, Good Friday, the Resurrection...  I will post more about these as we make them!

~ Spring Cleaning!  Thinking of it as an outward symbol of the "spring cleaning" going on in our hearts during this season sure makes it a lot more fun and meaningful...not to mention a great real-life tool for teaching the kids.  And boy does my house need it, so I am very motivated about this!

~ 40 Bags Challenge....I found this idea over at Shower of Roses as well.  It goes along with the Spring Cleaning....with the added idea that we shouldn't be holding to tightly to the things of this world, anyway!  So the challenge is to come up with one bag of unnecessary/extra "stuff" we've accumulated for each day of the Lent season...and donate it to a mission that needs it.  I suspect that coming up with 40 bags might not be so challenging for us this year, lol!  It is, however, a great way to help the kiddos let go of all those toys they never play with.

And that is all for this year....although I think it should be enough to keep us very busy for the next six weeks!

Is there something special your family does in preparation for Easter?  Please share - I'd love to hear!

7 comments:

  1. Love the photo.

    What a great tradition to start. You've come up with some really good ideas for ways to celebrate.

    I think I might join in with you!

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  2. Thank you for sharing, Colette! I didn't grow up with Lent, and oddly enough, it was my reading of Waldorf Education that introduced me to it...and now I hear it often!
    In the past, we haven't fasted or really done anything in the 40 days leading up to Lent, but I have been thinking that, as you said, doing something like the Christmas Advent would be good. I plan to re-read this blog post and get to thinking. I think I would only want to add a couple things this year, and add/change as my family needs -- but that Jesus Tree? THAT is a keeper! ( we have done a jesse tree, so the kids will be familiar with that)
    thank you for the wonderful post!

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  3. and ps -- i love your new header! that apron is wonderful!!

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  4. Thanks, Amanda & Sally!

    Lol, the apron is actually my Grandma's from many years ago; my Mom recently passed it on to me...it's inspiring me to want to make some more just like it :)

    The Jesus Tree is a kit that can be purchased from a Catholic online source...I think they're sold out now & it's too late to order one anyway. So I'm planning on just drawing up some ornaments of my own for my kids to color & cut out this year. I will have to check on the copyrights, but if I can - I will post the drawings tonight or tomorrow.

    Have a good day!

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  5. Thanks! I saw in an old Family Fun magazine a number of years ago a family who shared their Jesse Tree. It was how I first hear of it, in fact. They had three boys and used some kind of clay (polymer, maybe?) and actually made 3-d ornaments. I thought that was pretty cool....but I haven't had the wherewithall to actually make THAT plan stick, LOL! Wondering if, for the Jesus Tree, it could be a mix of paper, clay, etc...hmmm......
    :)

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  6. Thank you for your sight. This is just what I was looking for to do the Jesus tree with my girls. We did the Jesse tree this year and they loved it. Thanks for having the pictures to color and hang on the tree as well.

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  7. Anonymous, I'm glad you will be able to use our {very homemade, LOL} ornaments! I'm in the process of creating new printables w/original coloring-pics, which I'm *hoping* to post weekly as we go through Lent this year. That is, IF I can get them prepped for printing, in time. :)

    Wishing you and your family a blessed Lent season!
    ~Collette

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! Things are pretty busy around our house, so I can't always leave as many replies as I would like to. But please know that I look forward to reading every note you send my way - they brighten my day! Blessings,Collette

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