Ash Wednesday is March 1st. Considering I will not be blogging through the month of February, I’d like to share a few resources with fellow parents who try to live the Church year in their daily family life.
This past Advent our church sent all the children home with a Look Around The Manger pop-up calendar by Creative Communications for the Parish. My husband incorporated it into our family morning catechisis time with the kids taking turns getting to find the numbers for the corresponding days while Dad read the suggested Bible verse. We had the traditional chocolate Advent calendars for each child as well, but the shared 3D manger calendar made a much bigger impression on our young children.
Then our church sent home the 12 Days of Christmas pop-up and oh my goodness how the kids enjoyed adding to the scene for those 12 days. We already have a few traditions for the 12 days including setting up a tiny tree of Christmas night to hold our 12 day ornaments and having a star ornament travel through the house (kids have to find it every morning) followed by the wise men from our Nativity set. On Epiphany morning the star is over the manger and the wise men arrive which means it’s Three Kings Day = cake!
Now here is a tricky thing about blogging and sharing our lives with you and I want to address it directly: there is the possibility that you are a parent of young children and you are currently comparing your family devotional life to ours and thinking you fall short. You are
hiding sitting in your closet while your kids are glued to Curious George out in the living room so that you have a chance to read a few blog posts and you are thinking “I’m totally failing as the spiritual leader/example for my kids. Look at all the cool traditions this family did! On Christmas my kids obsessed about gifts and I was so done with everything Christmas that I could never keep up the Christmas stuff for an extra 12 days. guiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilt”
Stop it. (I said that in a nice, but firm, mom-voice)
My parents maintained a family devotion time through most of my childhood, and I always remember it as a constant part of my life, but now as a parent when I think back on it I realize that my parents adjusted to new stages and tried out new approaches. My dad started intentionally catechizing our family when my little brother was born, which means I was already seven. I remember there was a phase (kinda awful phase – sorry Dad) when my dad tried to wake us up earlier than normal on school days to do morning devotions during breakfast. Ugh, that was rough; I think my mom finally put her foot down on that. Really the only constant part about it was that my parents constantly tried to keep family devotion time a part of daily life even if that process looked different from year to year.
I have heard from many friends who came to Christ as adults and are now raising their own children in faith that they just don’t know what is best or how to start. And I’ll tell you that even with the blessing of growing up in a strong Christian home and being married to a strong Christian man (who happens to be a pastor), we as a family can still struggle to keep up with our family devotions. Up until this year I don’t think my husband and I have done things quite so intentionally when it comes to incorporating the church year into our daily family life. With our older children now being school age, I feel like we have reached a new season of life and the things we do now would not have worked so well when we were new parents with a 9 month old – or even when we had a 3 year old and a 4 month old.
New seasons. New stages. New beginnings. The best time to start figuring out how to incorporate your living Christian faith into your family life is right now. And you don’t have to start from scratch, you don’t have to do anything elaborate, you don’t have to bake a cake (though cake is always good). That’s why resources like the one at Creative Communications are so helpful for families; these resources are Bible based, visually appealing, and hold short attention spans.
Here is what our family will be doing for Lent when March rolls around:
- We will use the word Lent to describe the time of year. Our kids are going to be bombarded with all things Spring and Easter Bunny. Just like we use the word Advent during the Advent season leading up to Christmas even though the world around us is already gorging on Christmas, we will frequently use the word Lent during the 40 days.
- Use the Upon This Tree pop-up and sticker book each day of the 40 days during our normal family devotion time. I love that Lent is a great time to see the big picture of the entire Bible leading to the cross and resurrection. Each devotion has one sticker to place on the tree, a short little rhyme related to the Bible passage of the day, and recommended Bible verses to read aloud. (I’m also considering putting this mobile over the dinning table to build on it as we progress through Lent. I love that it is a fantastic visual for kids and that it builds each day. I might save this idea for next year though)
- And when Holy Week rolls around we will use the Journey to the Cross pop up
So that’s the plan; I hope it’s encouraging for you to see how we start small and simple!
And speaking of living the church year and cake, it’s Dellaybug’s baptismal birthday today which means CAKE and celebration of her new life in Christ.
*This blog post is not sponsored by Creative Communications, they don’t even know I exist, it is simply my honest review.