As protestants, we have never celebrated Lent before. I became intrigued with Lent about 10 years ago after talking to a few different ladies about how they celebrated Lent. One lady described how she draped her whole house with dark fabric and they ate bland food for the Lenten season. Then for Easter, she removed all the dark fabric, replaced it with bright colors, and served a wonderful Easter meal. She also said she even found edible flowers to put in her salad. This surprised me for two reasons: first, I didn't know there was such a thing as edible flowers, and second, who eats salad at Easter??? Anyways, the point was, she made an effort to make a visual picture for her kids to see the contrast of the darkness of the Lenten season and the joy of Easter morning.
I could never figure out a way to bring this into our home. For the past 6 or 7 years, I have spent the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday focusing on Easter and Passover. But, Easter is a hard time for me. Christmas is easy. Jesus comes as a baby and we rejoice. But, to get to Easter, we have to get through Good Friday, and that is hard. I don't like that part. It is sad, and violent, and awful. I don't want to look at what happened to Jesus. But, we can't get to Easter without it. So, how do we look at it, without traumatizing little kids, but really try to appreciate what Jesus did for us.
Speaking of traumatizing little kids.... Last year at Easter, I was pregnant with Yoda and feeling just a little bit emotional, and Padme was three years old. Now, I thought Padme had an understanding of what Easter was about. So, Easter morning we are in church singing Easter songs, and tears started rolling down my face. Now that is not the norm for me, so Padme became alarmed, and said, loudly, "Mommy, why are you crying!!??" I was trying to tell her I was sad about what happened to Jesus. She said, LOUDLY, "What did they do to Jesus! Why did they kill him! I don't like those bad guys!" Yikes. I was trying to whisper answers to her, and keep her quiet, and not cause a scene. By now, the other kids are looking at us and asking questions! I was thinking, good grief, why didn't I take her to the nursery?
Anyways, I got a free download from a curriculum website last week at http://www.currclick.com/index.php that had 49 different activities for Lent. So, the kids and I decided we would try it. Most of the ideas are just simple little things we will do to remind of us of the sacrifice of Christ. As it gets closer, we will do more. The kids and I also decided to give up a few things to help us remember. I will post more of the activities and how it is going as it progresses.