Early Christians utilized the Lent period to carry out preparations for baptism and Resurrection events, modeling their activities after the biblical story of the first Easter with the focus on the sacrifice of Jesus and the cross, his burial and the Resurrection. Many activities surrounding the season of Lent were in place to honor and reflect the 40 days Jesus was in preparation for his ministry work, and his victory over deep temptations during that wilderness period.
Today, many individuals and families carry out the traditions for the season of Lent in equally meaningful ways:
1. Refocus on prayer.
Prayer during Lent is a time of remembering and reconnecting to the Lord using the ever-powerful tool, regular prayer, and honors His repeated calling to pray without ceasing. Praying with a focus in mind each week can be effective, such as for family members, neighborhoods, leaders or national causes. Some use a specific prayer cross during the season of Lent to help refocus their prayer time. You can also incorporate modern technology to help you refocus on prayer, such as setting daily timers or alarms on your smartphone to remind you to pause and refocus on prayer.
2. Refocus with color and décor. Purple (or violet) has been used for centuries to commemorate the anguish Christ endured at the cross, and the weight of sin the world bears. It also represents the awesome reality that with the crucifixion and resurrection Christians are called to new life as sons and daughters of the King – thus representing royalty. Utilize purple in crosses and crucifixes, Christian wall art or other meaningful items. Children will also respond to décor and color that reflects the meaning of Lent.
3. Refocus by reaching out through service to the poor or needy.
Lent opens the door to renewed acts of service, representing and honoring the servant attitude and actions of Jesus – especially toward the poor and impoverished. Whole families can be involved in service, such as volunteering at a local food kitchen or helping an elderly neighbor. Acts of service can also mean activities like sending religious greeting cards of hope or encouragement to prisoners or missionaries.
4. Refocus through sacrifice or fasting.
There are many ways to honor the season of Lent through sacrifice or fasting, and it doesn’t always mean a stopping of a habit or indulgence. It can also mean starting of an act or habit that brings justice or mercy to others. While some fast from personal indulgences for the 40 days of Lent, others may choose to begin offering some of their daily resources to those living without.
5. Refocus through a renewed passion for scripture.
A commitment to daily reflection and reading on scripture is a very meaningful part of the season of Lent. Using a book of Lent devotions can be a great guide for your journey, as can setting out new scriptural reminders around your home or office. Reading God’s word daily can become a favorite and cherished part of your day that you observe for years to come.
As you and your family consider traditions for the season of Lent that will help you refocus and renew your faith, visit The Printery House for inspiration and ideas. Every card is created and printed on-site at Conception Abbey by monks, artists and writers who are devoted to helping you strengthen and share your faith.