Notes from the Atrium

Lent for Children

Posted By Micki Hill on March 01, 2015

For children, Lent comes too soon. We have just celebrated the joy of Christmas and Epiphany! So, how do we invite a child into the reality and discipline of Lent while maintaining the joy of the previous season? In the atrium, we explore this season through the parable of the Good Shepherd. It is an image that Jesus gave us and one that speaks to the various stages in the life of Jesus. He calls his sheep, he cares for them, feeds them, makes certain they have all they need. He even lays down his life for the sheep. We always remember that the life Jesus gives us is a Risen Life. I offer a few simple ways to live into the joy of relationship as a Lenten practice with your child:

  • Place a bowl of water on your dining table to create a focal point for Lent. Light a candle… Reflect upon the meaning of water and light at baptism. Pull out photos from family baptisms. We see that even death does not overcome the love that Jesus has for us, because he is still sharing his Light with us. Lent is a time when we reexamine our lives to see if we can love God more. Are we living as one who shares the Light of Christ? How can we make that Light shine brighter?
  • If you choose to give up eating out during Lent, place the money saved as an offering of food for a local shelter. Nothing better than cooking that meal together!

  • Fast from “busy” and spend more time with those you love. On walks with your family, take time to recognize that Life is only resting around us. Time is standing still for a moment, the bare ground is waiting to burst forth and just like the first seed bursting forth from the bare ground, one act of love is just the beginning.
  • Give up excesses, clean out closets and share with those who are less fortunate.

  • Name your blessings. This helps your family gain a sense of wonder at God’s provision.

     

Family practices can transform a child’s experience of the special power of Lent and assure them that when they fail on a given day to be patient or kind, they can quickly apologize and ask forgiveness. When you show them that love is stronger than the moments when they anger a parent or disappoint a friend, you help them learn that a penitential and reconciling behavior is central to Lent and a gift to the Church.

Be creative and when the days seem long remember these words from a 4 year old, “Jesus’ love is even stronger than death!”

Blessings for a Holy Lent!

Micki