Having a young child makes me appreciate and focus more on seasonal traditions. During this season of Lent, my family is starting, expanding, and continuing some traditions.
For a few years, our church has hosted Wednesday Night Lenten Suppers — simple meals of soup and salad, followed by a speaker. Last year, Caroline and I made the suppers but left for home and bedtime before the speaker. We’ll continue that this year. Of course, we indulged in a pancake dinner at church on Shrove Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, too.
Our church encourages members to take on additional service rather than (or in addition to, if that is one’s choice) fasting. The big church-wide project, lead by the youth and children, is The Heifer Project. John and I usually donate an animal in honor of each of our godchildren. This year, Caroline has her own ark bank in which to put a few coins each evening. She puts in a penny, a nickel, a dime, and a quarter (40 cents + 1). (Bonus: this helps with her eye-hand coordination and exposes her to the varying sizes and values of currency.)
Our new tradition, that makes me smile whenever I think of it, is our blessing tree. We started with a bare branch in a pot. Each day of Lent, we take a piece of ribbon and name a blessing the Lord has given us. Then we tie the ribbon onto our “tree.” By Easter, we’ll have a beautiful, ribbon-filled tree and a heart and mind full of blessings.