It’s nearly the start of Lent. For many Protestants, that doesn’t traditionally mean much. However, similar to Advent, Lent was established as a way to intentionally build up anticipation for Resurrection Sunday.
If you are looking for family activities to help celebrate the coming of Christmas, Advent has dozens of products from a Protestant perspective, but there aren't as many options for Lent.
I’ve always thought that Easter is just as significant as Christmas. However, in the low church tradition and in culture in general, Christmas gets a lot more attention. A lot of this has to do with the commercialization of Christmas.
We’ve picked up the Jesse Tree tradition and other intentional lead-ups to Christmas in order to focus the kids’ minds on Christ. Everyone is talking about it, so simple traditions that build on Scripture and focus on the nature and purpose of the incarnation and show how the whole biblical narrative points toward the coming of Christ are invaluable. They take the anticipation of the countdown and emphasize the hope that is the foundation of the holiday.
There are fewer options for Lent from a Protestant perspective to raise the anticipation of that important holiday.
That is why my lovely wife, Jennifer, wrote a series of Lenten devotionals for children. Each one highlights a name of Christ in Scripture. Each one takes about 5 minutes to read. They are focused at children ages 5-10. Additionally, Jennifer has recommended some basic activities (like building a chain), that can be fun for the family and lead to a visible reminder of the approach of Easter.
It’s not just for the kids, though. Parents, too, benefit from going through thoughtful preparation for Resurrection Sunday. After all, which one of us couldn’t do with a little more time seeking to understand and honor Christ?
As Jennifer writes in her introduction:
One of the books that greatly influenced me as a student was Knowing God, by J. I. Packer. In Chapter 1, he says, “Our concern must be to enlarge our acquaintance, not simply with the doctrine of God’s attributes, but with the living God whose attributes they are. As he is the subject of our study, and our helper in it, so he must himself be the end of it. We must seek, in studying God, to be led to God. It was for this purpose that revelation was given, and it is to this use that we must put it.” In writing this book, my hope was that I would use these discussions not only to inform my children about Jesus, but to lead them to him. Packer goes on to say that “…we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.” Reviewing these names and preparing to explain them to others is meditation, but I encourage you not to stop there. Take what you are thinking about and turn it towards Christ himself. Praise him along with your children as you allow these names and discussions to be a part of your life for 40 days.
Obviously, I’m a big fan of the project. So this isn’t a review, but a post to let you know that the devotional is out there on the market and available for purchase. It’s not about the money, but Amazon is a fairly universal platform and they make you charge.
In case you want to try it out, five days’ worth of posts will be made available online here at Ethics & Culture. There will be some free days coordinated in there.