Try reading this blog post (or parts of it) at the dinner table, so the whole family can hear it!
The "official" definition of Lent found on Wikipedia is: the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.
OK. But what does that mean to kids?
Lent is a time to stare outside at the beautiful, stark landscape of late winter, early spring and THINK. No matter what kind of animal you are… walrus, worm, cow or cat, child or child-at-heart...it's always good to sit quietly and think about who and what are most important in your life. Lent is a time for reflection. A time to look backwards, forwards and look where we are right now! A time to remember where we came from and where we might be going. Jesus did this a lot. He went to a quiet place so he could sit and think by himself. Jesus knew that by doing that, he could make time to say, "thank you God, for all the parts of my life... the comfortable parts and the uncomfortable parts, the celebrations and the disappointments, the things I do well and the things I need to work on."
I've never been one to embrace the gloomier approaches to Lent. There's nothing gloomy about following God's call to learn and practice the ways of Jesus. It's a challenge, yes, but it's also an honor to try and live into the best parts of who we were created by God to be. God created us as helpers in the world...to each other and to ourselves.
YOU are one of a kind.
YOU are loved by God just the way you are.
YOU are called to things you cannot even imagine yet.
We are human beings and so we make lots of mistakes. God knows that...and forgives us. God wants us to always try and do our very best. God expects that we'll apologize when we've hurt someone, and that we'll serve others whenever possible instead of just serving ourselves. God also wants us to protect anyone who needs HELP. By doing all these things, we are acting out of the kind of love and compassion that God intended us to live by. Thanks goodness, because being mean or unkind uses up a lot of wasted energy! It leaves us feeling sad and upset. Who wants to feel like that?
So sit quietly tonight before bed tonight or tomorrow in the morning when you wake up...and say thank you to God for all the people in your life who love you and all the opportunities you have each day to make someone else's day a little better!
p.s. the artwork above is from Serie-golo.com...with a little editing:)