The 40 Days of Lent

A Lent Family Activity

Lent gives your family an entire forty day season

to remember Jesus is best.

We fill our busy lives with candy, toys, sports, extra curricular activities, video games, television--you name it. During Lent, we remember the happiness we find in those things is temporary. Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21). Every toy your child has will one day lie in a junk yard. The treasure of this earth makes us happy, but that happiness is temporary. During Lent we stop filling our lives with temporary happiness and make more room for Jesus.

Consider fasting as an entire family during Lent this year. When you do so, don't just give up something. Also, be intentional about adding a practice, a new affection like serving at church together or volunteering at a local non-profit, to help set your family's heart on God instead of the thing you are giving up. One great resource you can use to teach kids about Lent is an old episode of Adventures in Odyssey: Episode #152: The Meaning of Sacrifice that explains the purpose of Lent and the practice of fasting as a family in a way with which kids seem to really connect. 

You can get the digital download here: The Meaning of Sacrifice

Candles For Lent- Make a Lenten Cross Together

Having a Lenten cross is very similar to having an Advent wreath. You put the candles on your table, and light one each week adding a new candle each Sunday during Lent until it’s Easter time. While an Advent wreath is shaped in a circle, the candles at Lent are in the shape of a cross.

Start with a cheap tray of some kind that is capable of holding some sand. (The sand represents the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert.) Spray paint it purple (for the liturgical color of Lent).

Allow to dry. Fill with sand. You can use candles already in glass jars or you could also use plain votive candles. Really, any pink and purple candles will work as long as they can stand up in sand.  Place your candles in the shape of a cross, and twist them a bit to get them to sit down into the sand.

Light one new candle each week, counting down the Sundays of Lent.

Lighting the candles: You just light them during dinner when you say the dinner prayer, and blow them out when you’re finished eating. You light candle number 1 on Ash Wednesday, but you don’t add another the first Sunday of lent. Candle number 2 gets lit the second Sunday of Lent along with candle number 1. On the third Sunday of Lent, you light candles number 1, 2, and 3 and so on. On Palm Sunday, all the candles will be lit.

Here’s the order you light your Lenten candles in:

February 17

Ash Wednesday

March 28

Palm Sunday

Gather your supplies for your Family Lenten Cross this weekend

and be ready to start this season of reflection and preparation

on February 17, Ash Wednesday.

Laura Drane

KFUMC Children's Program Coordinator