We already at that time of the year?!!!
It seems that the Christmas decorations and Advent wreaths have just been stored away when we find that it’s time to start preparing for Lent. Looking at things from the perspective of children who may not know the whole story of Jesus, they’re probably still thinking about that cute little baby in the manger and next thing they know the baby has grown into an adult and is being killed.
As leaders its also good to be prepared and organised as we prepare for the journey of Lent. We are hopeful for a face to face Lent and Easterthis year, as isolation had been the past 2 years.
So how can we best help children make the transition from the joyful celebration of Christmas to the rather somber observance of Lent and Holy Week? The season of Lent offers those in children’s ministry an opportunity to give children a balanced view of life, to let children know that there are times in life when they will be sad, while reassuring them that, no matter what happens, God is always with them to help them get through tough times. This approach can lead to a lasting faith as opposed to a shallow faith which is based on the idea that those who have faith in God are magically protected from anything bad.
There are a number of activities to do with children to help them learn about Lent.
Pinterest is a good place to find all sorts of different ones. You can teach children about Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins, by explaining that in the past people used to put ashes on themselves as a sign that they wanted to repent and be a better person.
Other ideas include, show a path on paper leading up to the empty cross and have stepping stones which the children can colour in each day to see how close they are getting to Easter. Since Lent is a prayerful time, making prayer books is another good Lenten activity. You can also create other items related to praying such as prayer beads.
Lenten love chains can be used to decorate a classroom or another area. Children write a loving action that they will do during Lent on a slip of paper and then the papers are glued or stapled together to create a chain. A Lenten grapevine can be made in Sunday school and then sent home for the family to use during Lent.
May this preparation season be creative, full of questions and hope as children learn and understand the season of Lent and lead-up to Easter. Lent is a season when we make an effort to live the way God wants us to by praying and acting loving to other people. A Lenten calendar, similar to an Advent calendar, can have different activities for each day of Lent. The same concept can be used to create a Lenten journey path.
Joyce Tangi is the Field Officer (South) and Children’s/Family ministry lead as a part of the PULSE team.