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A Special Lent Activity for Your Family

Begin a new tradition that offers everyone a way to approach Easter with meaning, reflection—even fun.

A bowl of plastic eggs that can serve as a special Lent activity for the family.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday is the annual period of prayer, fasting, repentance, and self-denial. It is intended to prepare a follower of Jesus for the holy days of Passion Week culminating with Good Friday, Silent Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Christians of many traditions and denominations mark the season by skipping meals, giving up some habit or pleasure, reading a daily devotional, etc. Some churches offer special services, classes, or prayer experiences during Lent. But what about a Lent activity for your family?

Lenten celebrations lack something that makes the month of December special for many families such as Advent calendars. From simple cardboard structures with a treat for each date to extravagant versions offering a small toy, craft, or piece of jewelry for each day leading up to Christmas, Advent calendars help parents and children anticipate the holiday with excitement and, sometimes, reverence.

Something Meaningful, Beautiful—Even Fun!

But it is possible to do a Lent activity for the family that is simultaneously meaningful, beautiful, educational, participatory, and even fun. It’s a Lent plan my niece and her husband follow for the 40 days of the season leading up to Easter.

Each day they conclude their evening meal with a short family devotional time together. Then they and their two children spend a moment writing on a slip of paper something they’re sorry for, something for which they want to ask God’s forgiveness. They fold the paper without sharing it or showing it to each other—it’s a private confession, after all. They place their “confession” into a plastic egg and put the egg in a basket or bucket on the dinner table.

They follow this daily practice throughout Lent, watching the colorful plastic eggs accumulate, and, with them, their awareness of their own need for forgiveness. Long before Easter arrives, the eggs fill the basket and come close to overwhelming the table display.

READ MORE: What Is the Meaning of Lent: Why Do We Observe It?

The Redemption of Easter

But Easter comes, and with it dawns redemption. The basket on the table is empty, and the papers in the eggs are gone, too, dispatched (without looking) and destroyed by Mom and Dad. Each member of the family finds those same eggs in their own Easter basket. But the scribbled transgressions have been forgiven. They are “redeemed,” replaced with “coupons” for extra privileges or activities, such as candy, small toys, money, or a special lunch date with Mom or Dad.

It’s a lovely way to mark the season of Lent—even if you have no children in the house—and to drive home to our hearts the truth that, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7, NIV).

Sure, it means buying a lot of plastic eggs (and maybe a basket, bowl, or bucket of some kind), but that is a small price to pay for the daily reminder that, because “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20, NIV), “The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV).

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