About 5 weeks ago, I set out to observe Lent as a family. I had the following Lenten to-do list:
- read weekly prayers as a family
- put a candle on a bulletin board after reading the prayer
- post on the blog
- pray every morning as a family at breakfast
- fast from buying toys
- donate some toys and clothes
- record and post some new Lenten hymns
Let’s just say we barely accomplished anything on that list. The few Lenten prayers I did read were usually me shouting over a cacophony of whining kids and baby squeals. I’m sure they had no idea what I was talking about. We did fill a baby bottle with change for a local crisis pregnancy center, but we did not manage to make it through the whole season without buying toys. I thought that would be the easy one. I don’t think we even once sat down together for breakfast, much less managed a family prayer during that time. And nothing got posted on the blog. It wasn’t until last week that I realized the Lenten cross I made had 6 squares when it was supposed to have 7. We didn’t put a candle up last week and there wasn’t even a candle or a square for today.
The best laid plans usually turn out about like this for me… half-finished and forgotten under piles of preschool crafts and kids drawings. Tonight we tried to make up for it by reading the story about Palm Sunday in the kids Bible, making some pathetic palm leaves out of construction paper and letting the kids run around the house with them saying, “hosanna!” I guess that was fun.
In my head, this family Lenten journey would have been building momentum the past 30-some days to a much anticipated and meaningful Holy Week. Fortunately, the rituals and readings and fasting and prayer are not the end in themselves, but means to the end of greater intimacy with Jesus. I’m not ready to abandon the rituals, but I also don’t want to be ruled by them. Real life happens, and God is just as present with our family whether we get around to reading our Lenten prayers or not. That’s good news for this tired mama tonight!
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. One more week til Easter means I still have time to post a few Lenten hymns here on the blog. Click below to listen to a Palm Sunday hymn I recorded last year. I won’t make any promises, but I might try to get around to posting a some more stuff later in the week.