Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday and I can hardly believe it! How did this happen? Lent seems so very early this year! (And it is, as clearly explained here.)
Like many of you, I like to have some meaningful activities planned for my family at this time of year. Last year I made up a big purple chart for these plans, but I wanted to do something a bit different this year. I really like our grapevine cross, so I placed it on our bulletin board, as a focal point (against a length of white craft paper so it would stand out).
I wondered if I could somehow weave a Lenten path of days around the edges of the board? I started working with lavender copy paper, but that was going to involve a whole lot of cutting. So instead, I fiddled with some blank index cards I had on the shelf.
I kept coming back to the Advent tags we did back in December. It was really fun and easy to celebrate the season with those tags. It was convenient to make them up as we moved along, tweaking them to fit the context of everyday life. So I went with that general idea ...
... and gathered 41 blank index cards, clear thumbtacks and some silk ivy vine:
I folded each card in half, and checked the spacing to be sure I could fit 41 all around the cross. With a bit of trimming, I found I could.
The plan is to open a card beginning tomorrow and each day throughout Lent. Inside each card will be a few notes for the day: the day's Gospel (for the boys to look up in turn), an activity suggested or an event taking place, a small prayer to offer ...
Now the two cards I'm going to show you happen to be two big days on the Catholic calendar - Shrove Tuesday (or Mardi Gras) and Ash Wednesday - so I have a lot written on these cards. Please understand, I won't have so much planned for everyday.
Lent is a quiet season, a time of reflection and solemn preparation. There won't be as much merriment as there was during Advent, but I hope there will be the contentment that comes from giving of ourselves and keeping our traditions of faith.
So here is tomorrow's card:
As you can see, there's all kinds of revelry planned for Fat Tuesday! :)
And on the back of the card, I wrote out a short prayer for the day which I found in The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions for Children's Faith Formation.
And here is the card for Wednesday:
These are the only two cards I've made up so far, so these are all I have to show. (And I see I mispelled Alleluia, lol - I always do! Good thing I also always write in pencil.) As with the Advent tags, I will complete the inside information a day or two in advance (possibly a week at a time). This way I'm not trying to come up with 40 days worth of Lenten activities at one time, and I can work our day-to-day life into our plans. Instead of having the boys give things up for Lent, we like to have them work harder at giving of themselves. I am sure there will be many opportunities for practical and spiritual generosity in the weeks to come.
I left the front of the cards intentionally plain, because I wanted the cross to be the focus. It all seems very plain this way, but that is the point. :)
Each day a tack will be pulled out and a card opened and read. At the end of the day the card will be placed within the woven vines of the cross, and in the morning, the card will be gone ...
... and there will be a tiny sprig of new life in its place.
By Holy Saturday, the cards will all be gone, and the cross will be dotted with green. Come Easter morn, the boys will wake to find the cross filled with fresh flowers! (But shhh ... it's a surprise!)
Well, thank you for stopping by today and sharing my thoughts. I'm sure I'll be posting more about our Lenten journey as we go along. :)
Good night! I'll see you all sometime tomorrow ...