Ash Wednesday was January 17th, which marks the beginning of the Lent season – a time to reflect and prepare for Easter.
For a lot of us, it means not eating meat on Fridays and giving up something for 40 days.
Over the years, I have tried to give up everything from alcohol, sweets, cursing – you name it.
It’s always an epic fail.
It is just like my New Year’s resolutions, I start off strong – but then just fall apart by week two.
I watch my daughters do the same thing. They will attempt to give up sweets or TV time or chips and, by day eight, they are making deals or forgetting and the point is lost.
Last year I came up with a new idea for our family.
I was tired of feeling guilty that I failed in my mission of sacrificing something I loved for 40 days.
I knew there was a better way to get into the season and complete the mission without failing.
I decided to write Lenten letters but came up with a few other ideas that my kids could also choose from.
1. Lenten Letters
Write letters/emails/texts to a different person each day.
These people ranged from my daughters’ bus driver to the woman at my local grocery store, to my mailwoman, to my family and friends.
It was anyone that I wanted to let know that I see them and I appreciate them.
The gift of telling someone “Thank You” is truly awesome.
My favorite Lenten letter was to my friend’s little boy. He is the youngest of three and the only boy in the family. He is a good, sweet kid that goes with the flow.
When our families gather, he is again the only boy and tolerates the girls and all the nonsense they bring to the party. He is just a gem.
I wanted to let him know that I noticed him and his kindness and his ability to try to relate to people.
His mom took a picture of him after he read the letter and he is holding the letter with the biggest smile on his face and, wow, it still brings tears to my eyes.
2. Family Time
Write daily intentions and put them in a designated “Lenten Intention Jar .”
I love this idea! Keep the jar in a centralized area and have a notepad and pen next to it.
Write down what or who you are praying for and put it in the jar.
At the end of Lent, you can go back and read your family’s intentions, if you wish.
Read Jesus Calling daily devotional (kids version) together before a meal. This is a great book and has daily devotionals that are easy for the kids to read and understand.
A quick read, with a good message.
3. Neighborly Love
Everyone loves cookies – and everyone loves a surprise!
Consider baking cookies, brownies, Rice Krispie treats and dropping them with a note such as, “Happy Lent” or “Glad you’re my neighbor” on their porch.
You may just make that person’s day!
Find a neighbor who could use some help and roll their trash and recycle bins up from the curb for them each week or offer to take their dog on a walk from them free of charge.
Making Lent Meaningful This Year
I found my Lenten season was meaningful when I did something for others.
I reflected on the people in my life and the sacrifices they make and wanted to thank them for all they do each day.
This is just an alternative idea to help celebrate the season. I hope whatever you choose to do is rewarding and fulfilling.
I hope you have an amazing 40 days!