40 Ways for 40 Days: 2016 Edition!
Countdown through LENT
1. Stepping Stones through Jesus’ Life: Step through the key moments of Jesus’ Life as presented through Scripture.
2. Lenten Calendar: The Lenten version of the Advent Calendar, this banner or pocket-filled poster offers a Scriptural quote or reflection, virtue taught by Jesus or a moment from his life, represented through Bible verses, drawings or small props.
3. Lent Quest Cathletics Craft Kit: This Catholic Printable offers THREE sets of paper chain links: Prayer and family challenges, Catechism facts and Saint bios. Add a link or remove a link, counting down to Easter! Laminate the links for a re-useable set!
Add a little…
4. PRAYER! The All Season Prayer Bank offers over 74 prayers plus templates for your own…to help you build your repertoire of prayers as a family! Do you forget to pray? Have you heard about the Prompt Me to Pray Prayer? Probably not, I made it up, but you can read about what I discovered.
Have you considered praying out loud, spontaneously, as a family?
6. Mass, Adoration: Consider adding a weekday Mass or Adoration if your parish has it!
7. Spiritual Reading, Lent Reflections, Spiritual Podcasts: Sign up for Fr Barron’s Lent Reflections
8. Scripture Memorizing: a passage a day? Here are 32 Ways to Memorize Scripture
9. Attitude of Gratitude: Count our Blessings Book, Gratitude Jar
10. Family Dinner Dialogue: Have you seen our Conversation Pieces Printable?
11. Works of Mercy…perfect for this Year of Faith! Here’s our new Craft Kit: Works of Mercy, Kelly Saints Style!
12. Extra Exercise
Give a Little
13. 40 Bags in 40 Days: Purge the toy bin and the clothes closets and fill big garbage bags with donations to the poor.
14. 30 Pieces of Silver: Collect coins throughout Lent to donate to the Church or to the poor by Easter. Some families make a coin donation mandatory for slips in Lenten resolutions while others encourage free will offerings.
15. Service: Food Bank, Nursing Home visits, volunteer to do another’s chores, cook for shut-ins, shoveling snow or yard work for neighbors
16. Compliment someone every day
17. Simple Dinners: Give up the fancy dinners, fast food or favorites in favor of simpler, cheaper meals…maybe limited to the non-perishable stock in your cupboard. Donate the money you save to the poor!
18. Social Media Blackout: Return to a simpler time…turn your back on facebook, twitter or pinterest…instagram, tumblr and whatever social media you are drawn to that takes a lot of your time. Reserve cellphones and texting for necessary or emergency logistics only.
19. Television/ Movies Blackout: Read, talk and play board games or make crafts…enjoy family activities without resorting to television or movies. ~OR~ Select only Faith-filled or inspiring movies conducive to a Holy Lent.
20. Food / Drink Favorites: There are always the classic food or drinks or treats that many people give up for Lent: coffee, chocolate, dessert, munchies, soda pop…What do you need to give up?
21. Gripes or Gossip: Refrain from negative conversation, particularly gripes or gossip or criticism that is not constructive or lovingly articulated.
22. Music: in car, ipod…Foster family conversation or prayerful meditation in place of default music in the car or on ipods. ~OR~ Consider spiritual podcasts or God music…Christian music or hymns.
A Look at our Sin
23. Sacrament of Reconciliation: have you seen the Reconciliation Printable?
24. Crown of Thorns Made of a dough braid with holes for toothpicks, this table centerpiece collects thorns with each of our transgressions or each slip or fail in our Lenten resolutions. Good deeds and extra prayers warrant the removal of the toothpick thorns, eventually filling the holes with flowers in time for Easter. I have been told that my crown of thorns picture is actually offensive and looks like blood sausage with fried onion rings. yuck. You don’t have to look here if you don’t want to.
25. Weight of the Cross and the Heart Cross Banner offer ways to express or represent our sins…or times we falter in our Lenten resolutions. We recognize Jesus’ Mercy and Love for us and we do good deeds and say extra prayers out of love for Him.
26. Bean Jar: A bean is placed in a jar or vase as each good deed is carried out. It makes for a stark centerpiece on the dinner table, but a good reminder of our Lenten resolutions and incentive to keep them. Imagine when the kidney beans are replaced with Jelly Beans on Easter Sunday morning!
27. Good Deed Beads Bracelet Inspired by St Therese, this little string of beads is used to keep track of good deeds, extra prayers and sacrifices. The beads slide and stay in place. After counting 10, slide the beads in the other direction to start again!
We also have an upscale suede cord Good Deed Bead Bracelet that even adults wear!
28. Blessing Eggs: Similar to the Advent Family mailbox Wreath, little messages of love, compliments and recorded good deeds are collected within the little eggs addressed to each member of the family …and opened up and shared on Easter Sunday.
Walk with Jesus
29. Jesus Tree: similar to the Jesse Tree, ornaments are made to reflect different events in Jesus’ Life or virtues taught by His Actions and His Words. Make sure you are subscribed to get a look at mine as soon as it’s ready!
30. Passion of Christ Egg Ornaments from Jesse Tree Treasures
31. Passion Play Peg People Set the stage for acting out the Passion of Jesus with peg people Jesus, the Apostles, Mother Mary, Pontius Pilate and some guards. The Ice Cream Tub Tomb doubles as a backdrop and storage container.
Our 2015 Painted Saints Passion Play takes place in an egg carton!
32. Prepare the Resurrection Eggs: You will find lots of tutorials online for making your set of Resurrection Eggs…and I think you can even buy them readymade. Colored Plastic Easter Eggs are used to hold different items representing the Passion of Christ, helping us to reflect on the events of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.
Stations of the Cross
34. Stations of the Cross Prayer Carousel Display the Stations of the Cross in this simple spinning carousel. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and offers an awesome Lenten centerpiece for the table.
Make Stations of the Cross Votive Candles with the same Craft Kit!
35. Stations of the Cross Ornaments from Jesse Tree Treasures
36. Grotto Craft (Illuminated Ink): I have seen a number of crafts using classic Stations of the Cross images and presenting them in little wooden frames or grottos. My set is from Illuminated Ink. The Craft Kit is a little pricey and time consuming, but we made our set and will keep it forever.
37. Stations of the Cross at Church Take your own tour in off-hours or attend the official Stations of the Cross at your parish.
38. Hide the Alleluia Did you notice that the Alleluia is missing at Mass during Lent? Some families make big letters (or paint wood letters) spelling Alleluia and hide them throughout Lent until the big reveal at Easter!
39. Shroud Jesus Art and Crucifixes: in keeping with the solemn nature of Lent culminating with the death of Jesus on Good Friday, religious artwork (with Jesus in it) and crucifixes around the house can be covered with purple material during Lent….just like at Church on Good Friday. This makes for a dramatic change at Easter with artwork restored and Easter decorations and flowers reflecting the celebration in the house!
40. Collect last year’s palms for a table centerpiece. Low key décor helps to remind and reinforce the Lenten theme. Don’t throw out old palms, because they are blessed! They can be buried or burned. We’ll get fresh palms on Palm Sunday!
What did I miss?
What is YOUR Lenten Tradition?
Please share in the comments!