28 February 2013

Lent in our Home

We use this table in the kitchen as our "family altar". It's here I will put reminders of what season of the Church year we are in.  

Here are some of the ways my family is observing Lent in our home this year.

I made this "prayer jar" out of an old formula container and construction paper. I cut an opening in the top for adding more prayer requests. (My kiddos think it's a biggy bank and really have a hard time not putting money in there!)

This year we decided to pray for a missionary family throughout Lent.
I chose the Eisold family who serve in Peru. Check out the LCMS website for more missionaries you can pray for.

To help me stay on task and more organized this year, I made a Lenten calendar like this one, very simple, just not very "neat" so don't look to closely!

It's not always easy to fit all the Christian practices I'd like to into a busy family schedule.

I've given myself 3 times during the day to fit in prayer, alms giving and our Jesus Tree lessons so if something doesn't get done in the morning I try after school, if not then, then hopefully after supper during our family devotion time. 

With lots of little people in my family I'm learning that I need wiggle room or wiggle time, when teaching them things. And certainly there will be days when none of our Lenten intentions, if I may use that word, get done.

Here's what we're working on through Lent. Typically the themes of Lent are Prayer, Alms Giving and Fasting. Since I'm usually pregnant during Lent and my children are still too young to really understand Fasting or Abstaining, we don't focus on those as much. Instead I try to give them something to learn. 

We'll work on 3 hymns this year and a memory verse.

On each day I wrote what we try to pray for (in addition to a prayer request from our prayer jar). 

Also for each day, there's an item around the house that we will count. The kiddos count how many...beds we have for example, receive a penny or nickle for that amount and then add it to our Giving Jar or Alms Jar. We will take our collection to church for Wednesday night Vesper services through Lent or all at once on Easter Sunday.

We'd love to hear what some of you are doing!

20 February 2013

Lenten Project for Children

If you're looking for ways to get children to give or think about those in need through Lent this may be helpful.

Using Christ's words from Matthew 25:

Week One: "I was hungry." Children can collect canned good for a local food pantry.

Week Two: "I was thirsty." Collect can or bottles of juice for food pantry.

Week Three: "I was a stranger." Write cards or letters to residents in area nursing homes or retirement centers. 

Week Four: "I was naked." Contribute diapers, wipes or baby care products and clothing to a local women's or homeless shelter.

Week Five: "I was sick." Donate health products such as shampoo, soap, lotions, toothbrushes and tooth paste to a food pantry or shelter.

Week Six: "I was in prison." Donate paper products, tissues, toilet paper, napkins and paper plates.

Set up a donation box or bag, perhaps let your children decorate it. Collect these items throughout the weeks of Lent then during Holy Week or Easter deliver them to your local food bank or shelter.

12 February 2013

We're Expanding!

I've asked my church-year-activity heroine, Aubri, to contribute to The Church Year in the Home.  She has awesome ideas, and is always doing sweet crafty things with her children, like putting glitter on a coloring-sheet face of Jesus for Transfiguration Sunday.

Welcome, Aubri! 


In addition to commemorating Saint Valentine this month, I wanted to encourage my kiddos to use the "Valentine's Day season" as an extra opportunity to show love and kindness to others.

I liked this Valentine's Day Count Down Chain I used last year and decided to make one this year too. On each of the links is a Bible verse about Love. AlsoI added an activity or loving act for my girls to do. I just wrote those next to the verse.

Some of our activities this month are:

1. Give a friend a hug.
2. Visit our shut-in church members with Valentine cards.
3. Tell someone "Hello".
4. Write Thank You notes to our teachers.
5. Make Valentine cards for our Grandparents.
6. Make Valentine treats.
7. Make a card for Daddy.
8. Obey your teachers and Mama and Daddy.
9. Share your toys today.

I started late on this (did February sneak up on you too?!) so I only made 9 links and activities. The girls love finding out what we'll do each day, though some acts haven't been met with as much enthusiasm as others...I'll let you decide which those are.

Here are some other ideas for little ones (mine are preschool aged):

Cut hearts out of paper.
Eat something red.
Call someone and tell them you love them.
Learn to write the word "Love".
Learn to say "I Love You" in sign language.
Make Valentine bookmarks and leave them at a Senior Center or Library.

Spontaneous acts of love and kindness are also encouraged!

For our shut-in church members we made very simple cards.

I made hearts with Bible verses and let the girls cut them out and glue them on to pretty paper.

You can download the hearts HERE and HERE.

We then attached the requisite chocolate!

We had extra Valentine cards that we were able to take to our doctor's office last week. We gave one to our nurse. She hugged my daughter and told her "You made my day!" That was fun. 

I think I'll also leave some on the kitchen counter in case anyone stops by this week.

08 February 2013

Lenten Literature

Some reading material I hope to use this Lent:

A Confession Mirror (Beichtspiegel) " (free pdf download courtesy of Emmanuel Press.)  "A Beichtspiegel (confession mirror) is a tool used for reflection and self-examination in preparation for private confession and absolution or for the Divine Service."

When God Becomes My Enemy: The Theology of the Complaint Psalms

"A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth"
          by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676
        1. A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,
        The guilt of all men bearing;
        And laden with the sins of earth,
        None else the burden sharing!
        Goes patient on, grow weak and faint,
        To slaughter led without complaint,
        That spotless life to offer;
        Bears shame and stripes, and wounds and death,
        Anguish and mockery, and saith,
        "Willing all this I suffer."

        2. This Lamb is Christ, the soul's great Friend,
        The Lamb of God, our Savior;
        Him God the Father chose to send
        To gain for us His favor.
        "Go forth, My Son," the Father saith,
        "And free men from the fear of death,
        From guilt and condemnation.
        The wrath and stripes are hard to bear,
        But by Thy Passion men shall share
        The fruit of Thy salvation."

        3. "Yea, Father, yea, most willingly
        I'll bear what Thou commandest;
        My will conforms to Thy decree,
        I do what Thou demandest."
        O wondrous Love, what hast Thou done!
        The Father offers up His Son!
        The Son, content, descendeth!
        O Love, how strong Thou art to save!
        Thou beddest Him within the grave
        Whose word the mountains rendeth.

        4. From morn till eve my theme shall be
        Thy mercy's wondrous measure;
        To sacrifice myself for Thee
        Shall be my aim and pleasure.
        My stream of life shall ever be
        A current flowing ceaselessly,
        Thy constant praise outpouring.
        I'll treasure in my memory,
        O Lord, all Thou hast done for me,
        Thy gracious love adoring.

        5. Of death I am no more afraid,
        New life from Thee is flowing;
        Thy cross affords me cooling shade
        When noonday's sun is glowing.
        When by my grief I am opprest,
        On Thee my weary soul shall rest
        Serenely as on pillows.
        Thou art my Anchor when by woe
        My bark is driven to and fro
        On trouble's surging billows.

        6. And when Thy glory I shall see
        And taste Thy kingdom's pleasure,
        Thy blood my royal robe shall be,
        My joy beyond all measure.
        When I appear before Thy throne,
        Thy righteousness shall be my crown,-
        With these I need not hide me.
        And there, in garments richly wrought
        As Thine own bride, I shall be brought
        To stand in joy beside Thee.

Your redemption is drawing near...

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.                                                               1 John 1:5-9 

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.                    Matt 9:15

LENT 2013

Lenten topics previously covered on this blog:

Shrovetide (Fat Tuesday) and Shrovetide 2

Family Altars (send me a picture of yours and I'll post a collection in a few weeks)

General history of Lent and some activities from last year and the same from 2011

Jesus Tree

Lenten activities from other sites:

Lent pretzel

Crown of Thorns

Lenten Lamb Calendar

Burying the Alleluias (detailed history of the practice and craft)