Easter is a season of rebirth, which means the days and weeks succeeding it mark growth in our faith as we await the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Ash Wednesday and all days of Lent are a time to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us and how we can become more like Him in our actions and words. The Diocese of Orlando reminds parents of Orange County Catholic school students to fully participate in Ash Wednesday Mass and prepare their children for what to expect during the celebration.
Catholics practice Lent with promises of repentance, spiritual cleansing with reconciliation, and living with a contrite heart. The following are some Lenten ideas for you and your family to focus on.
Start a Garden
What better way can you begin Lent than with a garden of sprouting seeds? As you plant seeds in soil, explain how the seeds were part of a living plant, just like Jesus was once alive before He was crucified. We are planting the seed to symbolize His death, but soon the seed will sprout, just like Jesus was reborn.
Pretzels are simple to bake with only flour, water, and salt as the main ingredients. Roll out the dough in long strands, then fold the sides over the center to symbolize hands folded in prayer. Share your treats with friends and neighbors as you explain the praying hands. Giving to others is a fantastic Lenten activity, especially if you visit an elderly or disabled neighbor.
Hot Cross Buns
This traditional Lenten bread reportedly began in the 12th century. With icing in the shape of a cross, it is another easy snack to deliver to friends and neighbors.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Reminders of God’s abundant love for us is evident in every aspect of nature, but some specific items can be reminiscent of Easter, such as seeking out a dogwood bloom in a park or a sand dollar on the beach. Have small children look for something red to signify Jesus’s blood, something white for purity and a clean heart, something black for sin, something green for growing in Christ, and something blooming for rebirth. Older children can take pictures of their items and explain the reason for each photo.
Teaching children the meaning of the Lenten season will help them fully appreciate the joy of Easter. The Diocese of Orlando’s Orange County Catholic schools have a variety of articles that can help your family grow in faith. Call the Diocese at 407-246-4903, and read our blogs for more ideas on living a faith-filled life.