As I mentioned when I figured out my plan for Advent, Christmas is a holiday where we celebrate hope because the promised Messiah is come into the world. However, Easter (Resurrection Day) is when we celebrate the fact that Jesus conquered sin and death by rising from the dead. While Christmas celebrates hope, Easter celebrates the actual victory! That said, I want to put some effort into anticipating Resurrection Day and starting family traditions that do that.
I hardly knew what Lent was until a couple of years ago, but since then, I’ve decided that Lent is a good idea for all Christians to recognize–whether they come from a Catholic tradition or not.
If you are unfamiliar with it, people generally give up something for the 40 days before Easter, because this helps them in a small way identify with the sufferings of Christ in passion week, and they seek to grow closer to God and prepare their hearts to remember and celebrate the crucifixion and resurrection.
Forty days is the same amount of time Jesus fasted in the wilderness. However, Lent starts 46 days before Easter, because each Sunday is a mini celebration since Christ rose on Sunday, and you don’t fast from anything that day! This year Lent starts tomorrow, Feb 13, and Easter is March 31.
A couple resources from a non-Catholic background that might give you a place to start are these below. Let me know if you find any others.
- John Piper has readings for either each Sunday of Lent, Good Friday, and Easter, and for each of the first seven readings he has you snuff out an additional candle during the reading, showing how it looked like darkness was winning. On Easter Sunday, however, all the candles are lit again, because the Light has triumphed!
- Family Life has a kit for kids called the Messiah Mystery in which one evening a week, they go on a hunt to find clues telling them what Lent and Easter is all about. You can here Barbara Rainey talk about it here. It’s sold out right now, but there is a blog giving away one by tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, so you still have a chance to win one.
For our family, I made a paper chain to count down to Resurrection Day and TSH and I will read John Piper’s readings on Sundays. I’m not sure if I should announce our fasting and praying practices a la Matthew 6, so I’ll keep that to myself, but I’ll let you know later what we are doing for the actual day of Easter.
Do you remember Lent? Do you have any other resources?