The Lenten Season

Have you ever noticed that while Christmas is issued in by weeks and weeks of preparation and anticipation, Easter comes and goes in a flash?

It is curious to me that New Church culture has adopted the Old Christian season of Advent, but has ignored the season of preparation for Easter: Lent.

In the earliest years of my marriage, my husband was a proper ‘bah humbug’ when it came to Christmas. After much discussion (and references to Scrooge) I realized that my husband was frustrated with the out-of-proportion prominence that Christmas received in our culture when compared to Passover. All that fuss to commemorate the Lord’s arrival on earth but hardly a glance at the stories that explain what He actually did when He came here. My husband had a point. Rather than depriving Christmas of all its merriment and pageantry, over the years we have looked for ways to make Easter, or ‘Passover’ as many cultures call it, more special and exciting for our children. We take two weeks off of school. We give large and numerous gifts which we hide for the kids to hunt for on Easter morning. We have a fantastic feast complete with an unusual dessert– we set up a miniature mossy world tablescape where candy bugs and chocolate birdies hide. We even have an Easter story representation. In short, we have tried to add to Easter versions of many of the celebratory components of Christmas.

But the Passover story is decidedly different in tone from the Christmas story. There is a seriousness to the Easter story that the celebration of the Lord’s birth just doesn’t have. And merriment and gift-giving can’t fully capture. And that is where the observance of self-sacrifice during the Lenten season has been valuable for us.

Each year we choose some luxury we will give up as a family for the period of Lent. The idea is that whenever we desire that luxury we will stop and think about the Lord Jesus Christ and the sacrifices He made for us. This year we are giving up ‘recreational screens’–no more movies or video games.

There is, of course, no magic in sacrificing during Lent. The real value in the Lenten season is not the giving-up in itself but in the preparation and anticipation for Easter. The season need not be one solely of sacrifice—we also grow flowers to give at Easter Sunday church and create special decorations. Yet I’ve found that marking the season with a little self-sacrifice matches the tone of the Easter story and the Lord’s sacrifice and love for us. And through choosing to give up something as a part of Easter preparation, we hope to instill in our family a different kind of Christian spirit than the ‘spirit of giving’ which we foster at Christmas time. Another angle to being Christian.

A few weeks ago I got confused and told the boys that Lent began on Feb 12th. When I realized my mistake and let them know that Lent didn’t, in fact, begin for two more weeks, the littlest ones were relieved (Yay! Put Wild Kratts back on!) but one of my elder sons was curiously upset. He was disappointed, he admitted to me, he had worked hard to prepare himself for the Lenten season and was ready to make the sacrifices to remember the Lord…and now he had to wait.

That was an incredibly precious moment for me!

About Eden Lumsden

Eden is loving wife to Derrick Lumsden and full-time mother to five little men and one little lady. She grew up attending the New Church of Phoenix, went to the GC College, married a priest and was promptly shipped off with him to Africa. They spent 6yrs enjoying the people and culture at the Westville New Church, near Durban, South Africa before returning to the USA in 2014. They currently live in Kempton, Pennsylvania where they dabble in self-sufficiency, homeschool their boys, and scheme of ways to help the Church. Eden finds the True Christian teachings about women and marriage to be particularly profound.

3 thoughts on “The Lenten Season

  1. Thanks, Eden! I love the idea of making Easter a bigger celebration. Your family has some wonderful traditions.
    Lent often sneaks up on me, but when I can I try to give up something and have found it is a powerful way to prepare. Cool to think of doing it as a family. It would be very cool if this felt like a more widely celebrated NC tradition.
    I wonder if the fact that Easter moves contributes to it being less emphasized?? Or just the fact that it follows quickly on the heels of Christmas and we’re worn out of extravagant celebrations? Of course there is the cultural emphasis too, I’m just trying to think why even I, when I love the idea of big Easter celebrations, feel a slight weariness at the thought. But I love the ideas and will have to keep mulling on the ways that feel exciting to make it meaningful in our family. Thanks for the thoughts!

  2. I really love the emphasis you bring to self sacrifice and it’s significant in the Lent season. I had been planning on the adding something in approach, but now am thinking I’d like to add in the sacrifice element specifically as a way of connecting to that element.

  3. Wow! That’s beautiful, Eden. I’d love to be a kid in your household around Passover time, to fully experience it as you do!

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