From the Children’s Ministry….

It is hard to believe that it is already March and that we are in the season of Lent. For the last few years, I have prepared a variety of activities for the children to do on their own or as a family during Lent. In my search of meaningful Lent activities for children, I ran across two articles with opposing views of Lent. One was published by a conservative evangelical group and the other was a blog written by a mother of three children. Knowing me as well as you do, you are probably confused as to why I would even bother to read the first article. All I can say is that the “teaser” stating that it is biblically wrong for Christians to observe Lent stirred my curiosity. Not surprising, that article was promoting separation rather than inclusion. It was an article of “this is right, all other ways are wrong.” It was not an article that encouraged individual thought and growth.

Also, not surprising, I was more inspired by the mother’s blog and her attempt to help her children understand why her family chooses to observe Lent. In her words, “Easter is what makes Christianity different from other religions. Jesus was more than a good person, He is God. God’s forgiveness is a great gift. It is easy to forget about that gift when we make ourselves comfortable with things like new toys, video games and food. These things can not satisfy the God-hunger that is each one of us. For that reason, during Lent, many Christians give up these comforts. They try to make room for God again.”

I am happy that our church chooses to observe Lent. While we need to be more mindful of spending more time with God and doing good works all year long, it is important to not let it become so routine that we take the amazing gift of God for granted. It is important to have a time to reflect on our lives and our faith and make room for growth and change. It is important to remove the “clutter” from our lives and to “make room for God again.”

This year, our children’s Lent activity is very simple. The bag contains an explanation of why we participate in Lent, a page on what a “Lent Garden” should include, and a cross to serve as a “diary” of Lent. The children have crayons to record times of prayer, fasting, giving and good deeds.
On Easter Sunday, the children can remove the back cover of the cross to expose the sticky side onto which they can sprinkle the included glitter to remind them of the joy and celebration of the resurrection. I hope that the children will keep the cross, look at it throughout the year and use it as a reminder that we always need to make our faith, our relationship with God, our responsibility as the hands and feet of Christ a priority in our lives.

I would be happy to share any left over bags with anyone who would like to share with a grandchild or a friend.