My Lent Story

Lent, Easter & Passover // ohAmanda.com

source: lightstock.com

I have a new addiction. It’s the  Relevant Podcast . I don’t even know how it happened. It’s not like I’ve never heard of Relevant. I’m pretty sure I subscribed to the print magazine back in the day. I just honestly thought they were one of those groups of Christians who are Christians but hate Christians and the church. And that really gets on my nerves. (Because I’m clearly so accepting and Christ-like.)

Anywhoo. For whatever reason I turned on the Relevant podcast they other day and they started talking about dcTalk. You might know about my obsession love of that 90′s Christian rap group. So, I was hooked. I think the Relevant guys are my middle school twins. I’ve listened to about 6 months worth of podcasts in about 6 weeks.

In this latest episode, they had a big conversation about Lent. It was totally fascinating to me. Because basically, I don’t have a Lent story. I barely know the word. In fact, if it wasn’t for the internet, I’d probably have wondered why a few parents at my son’s gymnastics had black stuff on their foreheads last Wednesday.

My church background was emotional worship, lots of mission trips with puppet shows and talk of serving Jesus every minute of every day. We didn’t have big predetermined seasons of focus-on-God or let’s-fast-together. I also didn’t know a lot of people who ran in those circles. Maybe it’s living in the South? I can only think of one Catholic girl and I’m pretty sure she didn’t care a lick about the church when she was in it.

So, Lent and even traditional Advent has been a mystery to me. Yes, I know. I wrote an Advent book. But even that first year of Truth in the Tinsel, someone said to me, “You know Advent starts on November 29th, right?” And I was flabbergasted. I didn’t even know what she was talking about! I thought “advent” just meant “coming” and we were celebrating the coming of Jesus–anytime you wanted to celebrate it!

(Now, all my Catholic readers are slowly backing away…thinking of deleting Truth in the Tinsel…)

Here’s the thing–since becoming a mom, I’m always on the lookout for objects, activities or events that will point my kids to Jesus. I want my children to know…

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

That passage is kinda wordy but I love the part about Jesus being before all things and all things being held together by Him. I want my kids to see this image of the invisible God everywhere they look. I actively look for ways for my kids to see created things but actually see the Creator. It’s why I make up silly games and crafts and experiences for my kids.

It’s why Advent and Lent have become attractive to me. I love the idea of making a set time and taking regular life to show the truths of God’s Word.

So, back to the podcast–someone mentioned how they love Lent because it seems to connect them with generations of believers. And I totally love that idea. How cool to think about Christians for hundreds of years doing this same fast and focus the 40 days before the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection?

But then, that reminded me of an even more ancient group of celebrations. Do you know about the Jewish feasts? As steeped in tradition and history as Lent and Advent are, the Jewish holidays are even more so. Each feast is so symbolic of Jesus’ coming. Each little piece is part of a bigger story of God’s redemptive love story.

For example, the Passover which just so happens to coincide with Easter. You know the story of the first Passover, right? The Israelites were hoping to leave Egypt after being slaves for generations. God commands Moses and the Israelites to prepare for departure and freedom.

He gives them a series of (honestly, very weird) instructions which included (among many things) making bread with no yeast. Why? Because they’d be leaving quickly. And if they were to have any bread on the trip, it wouldn’t have time to rise and bake.

The Israelites obey the instructions and are delivered. And now, each Passover meal after that first Passover meal, consists of unleavened bread (you might know it as matzo). But here’s the great part. Do you remember the story in the Bible where Jesus celebrated Passover?

He and his disciples were in an upper room and when they all sat down to eat, Jesus took that bread and instead of saying, “Remember? Remember how God delivered our ancestors quickly?” He said, “This bread? This symbolic piece of food? This is really a symbol of me. This bread is my body. And it will be broken for you.

The Last Supper as we know it, was really just the Passover meal. God has laid out his plan, his story, his path, his heart for us to follow. It’s not hidden from us. Jesus made God’s plan as solid and real as…well, as a loaf of bread. Generations of Jews were preparing for Him by participating in the prophetic Passover meal.

I don’t have a conclusion on how we “should” celebrate Jesus’ birth or death or resurrection. I just know the death and resurrection of Jesus is worthy of celebration. Worthy of intentional, focused time and energy.

So, Lent? Yay. I’m all in favor of giving up Facebook and chocolate to focus on God. Easter? Yes. I want to have a party on the day our Savior came back to life! Passover? Yes, I want to dive deep into the story God has written.

What I really want is to use the world God has set out for us to point my children (and my own heart) back to Him. It’s why I wrote A Sense of the Resurrection. I want to use bread or lambs or crafts or games or whatever I can to make the truths of God’s Word come alive in my children’ hearts.

How do you celebrate Jesus’ death and life? 
ohamanda.com

 

Comments

  1. You are truly awesome!!! Love following your stories… Read how we are the same and different… They are very encouraging!!! I grew up in church, A Methodist Girl here… I knew when ALL the seasons were; from ashes on my head to candle lite vigil on Christmas Eve… But I never knew WHY until the last year or so…. Because of my kids I want us all to know truth and why we are celebrating… Im learning right along with them even after 32 years of a church grown mind… Truly enjoying learning about the feasts and celebrations in the bible… We are celebrating Purim this weekend and MY kids are young but all about it… We have the best time and with so much time studying and preparing for the feasts we don’t have much time to be apart from God… I believe that is His design!!!! So anyhow thank you again and again for these seasonal ‘projects’ -we call them…. You can’t imagine how much it has done for our home and Christ knowledge!!!! Blessings*

    • I love this, Mary! Yes, I want my kids to see and know God thru every season. Exactly, and the more you integrate these things into your life, the more you can’t help but focus on God.

      LOVE.

      a

  2. Lent and Advent are fairly new to me too but I love them as well. I like that we have freedom to choose how and when to celebrate and it’s not a religious thing but an intentional heart thing. I loved Ann Voskamp’s Advent book last year. I didn’t give up anything for Lent this year but have in the past.

    Loved this post!

    • I like how you put that, Amy. You and I have the same church background so I know you get me! “An intentional heart thing”–that’s what I want!

      a

  3. I’ve been thinking about Lent a lot this year as I have never “celebrated” it, but am fascinated by it. I am still processing what it means for me and my family. I haven’t been consistent in what I wanted to give up for Lent. But I also wanted to focus on things I want to do more of.

  4. Somehow I have missed that you are a dc talk fan. This makes me love you even more than I already did. I am planning on starting your sense of the Resurrection soon. I’ve already printed out the banners. I don’t usually comment on blogs, but I just couldn’t resist. I grew up in Connecticut and dc talk came to town. It was proof to me that there were Christian guys out there. I still listen to all their albums. We must never forget luv is a verb!

  5. I feel like you just held up a mirror of my heart. Amen to all of it. I including DC talk and rap!!

  6. I really enjoyed your post. I too have embarked on a journey the past few years of learning about Lent and Advent. I love how these times focus my attention on the One it’s all about. I listened to the podcast you referenced and found myself yearning for more…more of Him. I appreciate all you do. Looking forward to checking out A Sense of the Resurrection. My kids loved your Truth in the Tinsel. And by the way, I LOVE DC Talk. :)

  7. We make Hills of Calvary (http://mustardseeds.typepad.com/my_weblog/2014/03/tutorial-hill-of-calvary.html) and Hosanna Palms (http://mustardseeds.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/03/tutorial.html) and He Has Risen Rolls (http://mustardseeds.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/04/he-has-risen-rolls.html). My understanding and journey to Lent has also been somewhat recent. More on that in this post: http://mustardseeds.typepad.com/my_weblog/2014/03/can-you-explain-lent.html.

    Can’t wait to add you Sense of the Resurrection activities to the mix!

  8. Cristina says:

    Hi Amanda! I have been reading your blog for a few weeks. It is wonderful. Thank you for sharing all your insights and kid activities!! I am a Catholic and Lent is an important time for me. I grew up Catholic but, like many Catholics of my generation (I was born in the 70s), I was not carechized (instructed) well in my faith. I fell away for a few years and worshipped in a Protestant Church. Then I had a strong reversion to the Catholic Church about a year ago. Since then, I’ve learned SO much about Catholicism and I do believe it holds the fullness of the Truth. There are many treasures to discover and so much beautiful tradition inspired by the Holy Spirit. The liturgical seasons (Lent is one) is just one example! If you are up for it, I encourage you to anything by Scott Hahn if you haven’t yet, in order to get a good explaination of Catholic beliefs around the mass, the Eucharist, etc. Jesus did not say “This is a symbol of my body.” He said “This IS my body.” If you want to go deeper than ever before, explore Hahn’s teachings (Catholic teachings) on the Eucharist and you will be astounded. As Catholics, we celebrate the Passover meal at every Mass. We need more of our Christian brothers and sisters to come home. Peace be with you. I will continue reading!

  9. Kristen Ondra says:

    Hi! I purchased Sense of Ressurection yesterday morning and received the confirmation of payment right away. I haven’t yet received the downloadable link. Could you please help me. We are so looking forward to starting. Thank you so much for all you do and sharing it.

    Have a wonderful evening!!
    Kristen Ondra

  10. I love this post, Amanda. Me too!!! As a Christian I’ve grown up thinking, what’s this whole lent thing about??? I don’t really get it. I love your thoughts and perspective. As I’ve started creating our own traditions with our family, I see how important they are, to bind us together and to point us to Christ. They speak with our actions: This is what we do: We stop to remember who God is and what He has done and His great love for us. This is who we are: we are his children and we are full of thanks. as a family. so powerful.

Leave a Comment

*