What is Lent?
Lent is the season of preparation for Easter. It starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter. It lasts for 40 days (not including Sundays) in which Christians prepare for Easter by fasting and spiritual discipline – all for setting aside time to reflect on His sacrifices. Basically, Lent is a time for “spring cleaning” our lives while giving thanks to God.
What is Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Although not a Holy Day of Obligation, the faithful go to church to receive a sign of the cross on their foreheads from ashes (ashes from the blessed palms used on Palm Sunday). This is a reminder of our mortality and a call for repentance. The pastor blesses the ashes and says “Remember, man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return” and the message for the day, in so many words, is “Pray like no one is watching you. Fast like no one is watching you. Do good like no one is watching you. God knows”.
Lent with kids.
Kids have a hard time understanding Lent. One way of explaining Lent is that it’s a time to bring us closer to God. In our busy lives we fill our selves with candy, buy toys, play video games and watch television which makes us happy but that happiness is temporary. During Lent we stop filling our lives up with temporary happiness and make more room for God. Adults usually give up something important to them for the 40 days of Lent or incorporate a spiritual discipline.
Activities during Lent.
There are many things you can do during Lent. The “Jelly Bean Prayer” for children is a sweet way of teaching children about Lent. Using various colors of jelly beans to describe a virtue, children are given a jelly bean for each good deed collecting them up until Easter.
Red for the blood of Christ (a sacrifice).
Green for shade of the palm (doing a good deed).
Yellow for God’s light (kindness to others).
Orange for prayers at twilight (good behavior at bed time prayer).
Purple for days of sorrow (apologizing to someone).
Pink for each new tomorrow (forgiving others).