Our Mom's Group met yesterday and the topic was sharing Lent and Easter traditions/ideas. There were lots of good ideas discussed. It got me thinking a little bit as we talked, and then a little more later, as the day wore on, about what I would be doing for Lent.
Yesterday, by the end of the day, I was drained. Physically, mentally, and emotionally I was spent. The thought of getting all my ducks in a row for Lent was daunting-especially the 6 little ducklings here on the ark, who vascilate between getting on board with my plans and full-blown mutiny.
When I woke up this Ash Wednesday morning, it occured to me, however, that this Lent what I *do* or *give up* really isn't as important as the growth that thankfully still occurs, inspite of my plans for perfection. There is nothing that I can do, no amount of chocolate left uneaten, no specific number of prayers said, no perfect parenting skill that can match the sacrifice of Good Friday. Forgiveness doesn't come with a debt. Lent is not about my perfect sacrifice-it's about preparing for Christ's perfect one. So, I'm going to sift through the Lenten activities below and find something that seems appropriate to help myself and my family grow closer to Jesus this Lent. I'm thinking that abandoning the need for perfection and the opportunity to become more humble might be a good place for me to begin. Check back in with me in 40 days. Hopefully, you'll find me a little more perfect and a little less perfect, too.
1 c. whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
1 c. sugar
Directions:Preheat oven to 300 F.
Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 c. sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isa.1:18 and John 3:1-3.
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66.
GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
On Resurrection morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Resurrection day Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt. 28:1-9. HE HAS RISEN!
Russian Easter Bread
2 1/4 -3 1/4 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 pkg. yeast
2 T. margarine
1/2 c. candied fruit
1/2 t. anise seed
5 colored raw eggs
Mix 1 c. flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Combine milk and unmelted margarine in a saucepan until warm. Add gradually to dry mix. Beat 2 mins. at medium speed. Add 2 eggs and 1/2c. flour till batter thickens. Beat on "high" 2 minutes. Add more flour if necessary. Lightly flour board, knead 8-10mins. Place in a greased bowl. Turn to grease top. Cover and rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Combine fruit and anise seed. Punch down dough. Knead in fruit mixture. Make 2 ropes of dough. Twist into a braid and form a ring on a greased baking sheet. Brush with melted margarine and place colored eggs in the braid. Cover and let rise one hour. Bake at 350 for 30-35 mins. Remove and cool.
Frost with: 1 3/4 c. confectioners sugar. 2T. water. 1/2T vanilla all mixed together.
You can find more Lenten activities here and here,as well as Lenten ideas for kids , here ,here and here. Plus, check out Danielle Bean's discussion about Lenten activities here . We also talked about doing a family service project, stations of the cross for children, a Seder meal and a "Loaves and Fishes" meal as well.