The church calendar provides a way for us to center our lives around the story of Christ, and Lent marks the time we prepare for Christ’s death. As we enter the season of Lent, I have a few ideas of things that have worked well for our family in wanting to approach this time intentionally in making disciples of our children. Pray and ask God to lead you as you share the gospel with your children and prepare as a family for all Christ’s death and resurrection mean for us as Christ followers.
For Lent (and Christmas!) the past few years, we have been looking at prophecy and fulfillment. I love the idea of little hearts being captured by God’s Word showing Him to be Trustworthy and Promise Keeper. What He promised hundreds of years before was ultimately fulfilled in Christ Jesus, and the church calendar is a great time to look at what Scripture said would happen as we wait for those events and read what actually happened in the life of Christ. Our family discipleship through this season (with a 1, 3, and 5 year old) looks like playing a game, reading stories, making gardens, and baking together for Lent. I’ll share these ideas below. Please feel free to use any of these that might be meaningful for you and your family this year!
Days of Lent
We began playing a memory game a few nights a week from Kids Read Truth called “Isaiah’s Prophecies Fulfilled In Jesus.” We would read the scripture together and try to make matches of what God said would happen and what Jesus made happen! We began memorizing 1 Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him”, and memorizing a few other verses of prophecy and fulfillment as well.
About a week before Easter, we began making a Resurrection Garden. The beautiful imagery of a garden is found throughout the story of the Bible. Making this garden together allows children the tangible experience of remembering the whole story leading up to Jesus, beginning with creation and God planting a garden in Genesis 2:8. Each day tells more of the story with Christ’s birth, miracles, praying for us in the garden, the cross, and the tomb. As we plant seeds and tell stories and wait for new life, I’m praying salvation over my children and these seeds of the gospel being planted in their hearts. I love the reminder this is of all God has done for us in Christ and what new life means. I also love the reminder to pray that the Lord of the Harvest will bring salvation in their hearts and make my children a new creation in Christ Jesus, dead to their sins and alive in Him! We light a new candle each day as we add to the garden. There are several variations of stories to tell and how to make your garden, and I’ve posted some links to get you started below.
On Thursday we read “The Servant King” from the Jesus Storybook Bible and talk about Jesus’ love for his friends. Before dinner, we wash our children’s feet and tell them how much we love them and how much Jesus loves them. We eat crackers and have grape juice together and talk about the meal Jesus shared with his disciples when He asked them to remember His love. We remind them that when He washed their feet on the outside, it was a clue that He was about to wash their hearts on the inside when He died on the cross.
On Friday afternoon, just after lunchtime, we turn out all the lights in our house and blow out all the candles to remember the darkness of the world without Jesus, our Rescuer and our only hope.
We end the week by making Resurrection Rolls that help my kids have a tangible experience with something that is so abstract. This recipe walks you through making these rolls which symbolize preparing Jesus’ body for burial (although technically the women came Sunday morning to do this and He was already alive!) Children can dip a marshmallow (symbolizing Jesus’ body) into cinnamon, butter, and sugar (symbolizing the spices used for burial). Crescent rolls are the linen cloths to wrap Jesus’ body, and the oven symbolizes the tomb. Each year we memorize Luke 24:5-6 while we wait for them to bake.
Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen as He said.
As we play games, read stories, make gardens, and bake breakfast, we celebrate JESUS! We pray as we go about our everyday moments that these ways of pointing to Him and teaching His story capture the hearts of our children, draw them to salvation, convict them of their sin, open their eyes to see their need for a Rescuer, and we pray they will be disciples who will joyfully obey our Risen Lord. However you choose to walk through Lent this year with your children, ask for the Holy Spirit to teach and guide you. Choose to abide in Him and enjoy learning with your children the timeless truths of our Promise Keeping God who makes all His promises “Yes!” in His Son, Jesus.