I wasn't sure how much we as a family would do this year for Lent. I didn't have much planned besides Toadstool and I giving something up for the forty days and planning to attend an Ash Wednesday service at our church this evening. We did have buckwheat pancakes last night for dinner (yum) but beyond that I just hadn't planned much.
However, today, I decided we needed to do a little more. I struggle however with exactly how to bring Lent to a four year old in a gentle age appropriate way. I think after consulting some of my resource books and a few blogs I have figured it out.
We as a family never got around to Candlemas this year. We were all sick and have a still relatively new baby in the house and it just didn't happen. So today Toadstool and I melted down our Advent candles from this year and the remnants of last year's Lenten Candle and poured some candles for Lent this year. I'm not sure where I came across this idea, but it's our third year making a purple beeswax candle for Lent from our Advent wreath candles and I think it's a lovely idea.
We made two candles...the larger will be used on our dinning room table. The smaller will sit in a little bowl of sand on our nature table to be used as a prayer garden for Lent. I was inspired by this lovely post from Thoughts From the Sheepfold. Each member of our family has a smooth stone to put in the garden to represent a joy or prayer concern each day.
For the rest of the nature table we removed everything (we left a few hearts around the tree till after Valentine's Day tomorrow) and put down purple silks. On top of that we placed our prayer garden, a pile of 4 little rocks, a piece of wood and a small bowl of water. Explore and Express had some very nice ideas for the Lenten Nature Table here.
Tomorrow, once we have some clay, we will make a Prayer Pot to also go on the nature table following these instructions, also from Explore and Express.
I have also decided to tell a story to Toadstool each day during Lent, as we did with the Mother Mary story at Advent. The Authors of All Year Round recommend a quiet moment with young children each day. That is not something my darling Toadstool does well with, however, he will sit a listen to a story and we looked forward to the Mother Mary story so much each day and I felt it really helped to give that season more meaning to Toadstool. I decided that The Hare from Wynstone Press's Spring book hit the right tone for Lent with its' focus on Christ bringing light and hope to the world and the importance of staying on our course.
Now I just need to find my devotional book for Lent and I think we'll be set for a lovely meaningful period as we look towards Holy Week and Easter.