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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Twas the Night Before Lent...

As a family, we've never really made a big deal out of Lent. Easter, yes. Lent, not so much. Over the years, Dan and I have abstained from different things or observed the season in other ways, but it's been more of a private thing -- not a big family celebration.

This year, I've been inspired to do things differently. We're going all out for Lent. I've taken some ideas and cues from different friends and planned out a season that our whole family is pretty darn excited about.

Here's our plan...

First, the Pancake Dinner. In England, the Tuesday before Lent begins is called "Pancake Day." The point is to enjoy a rich, satisfying meal before the period of fasting and self-denial begins. I suppose it's the British version of Fat Tuesday.

So tonight, we celebrated the beginning of Lent with a big pancake supper, complete with fresh berries, whipped cream and all kinds of ridiculous toppings. I meant to take pictures but we had so much fun that I completely forgot.

Second, in keeping tradition, we're all fasting from something for the next 40 days. Tonight at dinner, we all made our announcements about what we're giving up...

Dan: Red Meat
Shelly: Facebook
Madeline: Books on Tape
Davis: Teddy Bear
Hannah: Stuffed Dog
Joseph: Stuffed Dog
Charlotte: Lent (yes, Charlotte is giving up Lent for Lent. I guess the point of the exercise was lost on a two year old).

Third, we're not only fasting. Dan and I have spent a lot of time in Isaiah 58 this week reading about the kind of fast that's acceptable to the Lord. According to these verses, a true fast requires more than abstaining -- it also requires giving and doing.

So this year for Lent, our family will also be giving. Each day for the next 40 days, we'll give a gift to someone. Not necessarily a material gift -- perhaps a gift of time or service, a meal for a mom who's too frazzled to cook or a completely random gift to someone who has no way of repaying us.

Tonight at dinner, we completed our Lent List together. This is the list of the 40 gifts that we've agreed, as a family, that we'd like to give during the season, in Jesus' name. As we discussed this list together, I was nearly moved to tears at the suggestions of my children. Even Baby Charlotte participated and contributed ideas.

And finally, we're doing a Lent Tree. I stole this sweet idea from my friend Andrea and it's such a beautiful way to celebrate the season with little ones. The idea is that you put together a simple "Lent Tree" (ours is a couple of branches plucked from trees in our yard) and decorate it each day with an ornament which corresponds to a daily Bible reading.

I originally set out to find or create 40 perfectly beautiful ornaments...

But I made it about halfway through the list before I realized it was going to be too expensive to purchase them all ready-made. And too ridiculous to try and make them all fluffy and perfect, because I'm terribly un-crafty.

So instead, I bought some clay and Dan and I had an ornament making fest with the kids. We all pitched in and molded the last 20 ornaments together. It was great fun and I ended up with some serious keepsake pieces...

Here's my favorite, by Davis:

As Davis explains it, the ram is sad because she's about to be sacrificed. Can't say I blame the old girl.

Here's to celebrating the season! I hope you'll celebrate with us -- the more the merrier!


Christy said...

oh my - totally going to do this with the last ones I can't find!!! Did you just get the modeling clay from michaels or something?

Amanda said...

Love Isaiah 58 and that you all are giving and not just taking away...

Naomi said...

Oh I am so glad that you began the tradition of pancake day!!! We always celebrate it, being a Brit and all!! I just posted my confession of what I will be giving up on my blog. I love that it is not about what I have to do but what I get to do so that I will draw closer to my Lord!!

Blessings to you for this sweet post. And I love the ram!

Courtney said...

thank you for sharing! i'm soaking in all i can...my first year really "doing" lent! at the end of day 1, i'm already incredibly blessed and humbled...