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Why Observe Lent?
In today’s culture people seem to only talk about the season of Lent in terms of what they might give up, if they are talking or thinking about Lent at all. We believe devoting some time and energy to understanding and observing Lent can be profoundly good for our souls and our families.
So what is Lent? In the first 300-400 years of Christianity, many faithful women and men recognized the wisdom of setting aside chunks of time surrounding major Christian holidays. Christians adapted this practice from the festivals that God laid out in the Old Testament. Followers of Jesus did this in order to help themselves fully prepare for and then enter into important annual celebrations like Christmas and Easter.
Lent was set aside as a time for Christians to contemplate Jesus’ work on the cross in preparation for a joyous celebration on Easter. Lent is now a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday (February 26, 2020) and ends on the Saturday before Easter. Lent is the church season where we remember and celebrate Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. During Lent, there is a tradition to try to get closer to God by doing three things.
- Giving something up—this is called fasting.
- The practice of Almsgiving—which means taking some of what we have and sharing with those in need.
- Spending more time praying.
Family Ministry Tools has created Lent in a Box as a resource for churches to provide to families to help them observe Lent together and have meaningful faith conversations at home. Lent in a Box provides a variety of interactive ways to draw closer to God during Lent. Included in the Lent in a Box download is for each week of Lent a Scripture focus, a Hands on Activity, an Interactive Prayer Activity, and either an Encounter with Jesus (2020 Lent in a Box) or a faith hero story (Lent in a Box, Edition 1). Your church prints the pdfs, buys the supplies (we provide an amazon shopping list) needed for the various activities and puts together the boxes. The purchase of the download grants your church permission to create as many boxes as you can give away.
We pray that you and your church will find Lent in a Box to be useful tool for this Lenten season as we together we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!