How do you help families talk to their children about Lent?
When my sons were young, I discovered a way for our family to mark the season of Lent. I created a Lenten wreath.
I combined two 10-inch gold Advent rings and placed putty in one of the candleholders to create seven candlesticks instead of eight. I set the two rings together and made them nonsymmetrical. I covered the Advent rings with grapevine in a circle, and I used burgundy candles to represent Christ’s crucifixion.
The Ashes to Go movement came last year to the church I serve in Washington, DC. We are a pretty traditional congregation, especially in matters liturgical and theological, so this was bound to be an experience that stretched us. How would the neighborhood respond? How would our parishioners respond?
“Incredibly positively,” was the answer I shared time and time again in the days following.
The challenge of Lent-Easter-Pentecost is quite different from the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle. Our culture provides little competition during Lent (as opposed to the busyness and extravagance of Advent). By and large, we are free to observe Lent/Easter with little interference from society. That this is so, however, may be a sign that we have not been observing this ninety-day cycle very well.
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