Last year, I spent some time learning about the church calendar and how its seasons are basically in place to follow the life and death of Christ. Christ is born (Advent), he is acknowledged as divine (Epiphany), he is tempted in the desert and dies for our sins (Lent), he is resurrected (Easter), and then the Spirit comes upon believers (Pentecost).
Following the calendar isn't meant to be "religious" or another thing on a to-do list. Instead, it's meant to stir up our hearts and challenge us to pause and reflect in particular ways throughout the year.
For Lent, the idea is that we deny ourselves something for 40 days to represent Jesus fasting 40 days and then being tempted by Satan in the desert. During this time, we stop filling ourselves with all the pleasures of the world and instead empty ourselves long enough to see our sin and brokenness. This may look like fasting from certain foods, social media, Netflix, shopping, etc.
In A Hunger for God (which I highly recommend!), John Piper says, "If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great."
Lent provides us an opportunity to set aside our normal go-tos and instead think on our fallen nature + Christ's beautiful sacrifice. It is meant to be a more sober, heavy season that ends as we welcome in the glory of Easter.
This year, my husband and I are going to give up our nightly Netflix. We'll feel that void, for sure; It's become such a habit and way to mentally zone out for an hour or two! But we know that God will fill the time with more of His presence. It will open up more time for us to connect, read, pray together, etc. And mostly, it will help us rejoice more fully when Easter Sunday comes.
In addition, I will use this season to focus what I teach and talk about with my boys. In this post I talk about some of our daily habits. During Lent, I'll use our meal times to focus in on discussing passages on our sin, repentance, and why Jesus had to come.
I'll also leave these books out on the coffee table for us to grab and read all season long!
1. A beautiful book! My boys are captivated by the pictures and story.
2. Great for the week before Easter. Simple, perfect for the littlest ones!
3. We love this book; read it with these eggs (we start them twelve days before Easter). A favorite around here!
4. We love this one, too.
5. And of course, this Bible. There are lots of "lent" reading plans to follow with your little ones if you'd like!