Thursday, February 22, 2007
And finally, a Lenten post
Boy, I had a hard time getting my brain around the fact that Lent was starting. We really scrambled to get our preparations ready this year. Maria and I went to the Ash Wednesday mass yesterday afternoon...John was home and stayed with Jack so that he (Jack) could nap. Later that evening we finally got the altar ready. Maria and I made a salt-dough crown of thorns. There's 40 thorns in the crown, and we take a thorn (toothpick) out for each day of Lenten sacrifice and put it in that little glass bowl next to it. On the Easter Vigil, all the thorns will be gone and we will glue flowers to the wreath. The toothpicks in the bowl will disappear and be replaced by candy. So, what are we all giving up for Lent? Well, we pondered and pondered what to do this year. We will do our usually giving up of sweets and treats on all days but Sunday. Other than that, we decided to let the kids focus on their jelly bean jars. Their jars are there on the altar, back in the corners. They aren't exactly jars, more like fancy bowls. You can't tell in the picture, but the bowls are lined with a piece of cardstock to hide the view of the jelly beans because 1. I didn't think it was appropriate to have candy on the altar during Lent, 2. I didn't want Jack to see the candy, and 3. I didn't want the kids to get obsessed with comparing the number of jelly beans in each other's jars. This is a really nice little tradition. Each evening the kids share (with some prompting from us one what we've noticed, good and bad, during the day) what little sacrifices and deeds they have offered up during the day. They get the corresponding beans in their jar...all except for the white ones. This poem goes with the jars--
Red is for the blood He gave. (sacrifice)
Green is for the palm’s cool shade. (good deeds)
White is for the grace He gave. (can’t earn these!)
Yellow is for God’s light so bright. (kindnesses)
Orange is for prayers at twilight. (evening prayers)
Blue is for sweet rest at night. (going to bed well)
Purple is for His hour of sorrow. (asking forgiveness)
Pink is for our new tomorrow. (giving forgiveness)
A bag full of jelly beans colorful and sweet,Is a prayer, is a promise, is a special treat.
The night before Easter, we will fill whatever space is remaining in each jar with white jelly beans...they represent God's grace- you can't earn it, it is freely given to hold us up where we fall short.
So, that's the bulk of our Lenten ideas. We have some nightly scripture readings to add to our evening prayers, we will coordinate with our parish calendar to try and make some of their activities, especially Stations of the Cross, and we have some special activities planned for Holy Week. John and I also have our own things to offer up too...we didn't make our own jelly bean jars. :)