I recently learned something new:
Lent is a tithe of the year.
40 / 365 = 0.109589041096
The 40-day period of Lent is indeed pretty close to one-tenth of the year! (I had to prove it to myself by doing the math. Broke out my trusty abacus.)
Lent is what we call the 40 days (not including Sundays) before Easter. It is a time when we traditionally prepare our hearts and minds for the awesome truth of Easter; a day that is so special that it deserves ahead-of-time forethought.
A tithe is one-tenth of something, traditionally thought of as one-tenth of one’s income given to support the church and other charitable organizations. In this case we are talking a tithe of time; taking time-out to think about the meaning of Easter.
Of course it’s not possible for most of us to spend all day, every day during Lent, contemplating Easter. What can your family do to intentionally put God at the center of your life – say for about for 10 – 15 minutes a day? Here are eight ideas for your family’s Lent experience. Try one (and repeat daily) or try them all!
- Ask questions: Agree to spend 12 minutes a day with your family discussing this month’s Bible story. For our February and March 2016 Rotation, read our story in Matthew 26:36-56. Use these discussion questions as a guide.
- Experience God in nature: Go for a walk outside. To give your walk some focus make it a discovery walk (to notice one new thing) or a smelling walk (what smells come to your attention) or a prayer walk (pray for everyone whose house you pass).
- Journal through Lent: Leave an open notebook on the counter with a pen handy. Ask everyone to jot down or draw instances where they have seen God at work in their daily life. Review the entries over dinner.
- Bless your child(ren) and yourself! Read about this way to enrich your child’s life here. For blessings to choose from check out here.
- Give up something: Can you fast from using anything dependent on electricity? Can you turn off the phone, the TV, the refrigerator? (Hey, it’s only for a short time. As long as you remember to turn it back on!) Eat dinner by candlelight. Tell stories of past Easter celebrations.
- Add something: Silence. Can everyone agree to be silent for a set amount of time? (Okay, age appropriateness may come into play here.) Ask everyone to think of when they experienced beauty. In their mind return to that particular scene. Study it in silence. Talk about it afterwards. Where was God in your picture?
- Improve upon your “silence” experience by having everyone chip in to create a “sacred spot” in your household. What visual reminders will enhance this place? A cross here, scripture written on an index card there? Allow touching and rearranging and additions and subtractions.
- Serve others some happiness: Look for opportunities to be the difference in someone’s day. Compliment janitors at work on how nice the building looks, how you appreciate the work they do. Whom else can you thank?
How will your family prepare to take in the full meaning of Easter?
Update: I’ve posted more Lenten family activities here.
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