Every year, weeks before Advent begins, I start seeing people share what they'll do in their homeschools to prepare for the joyous season. Almost every post I see on Instagram from November 1st to January 1st involves red and green. Then, a few months later, Lent rolls around. Instead of months of prep, Lent often gets the same attention as the leftovers at the back of the fridge; not even just on social media, but in our homes, too. Often, I have looked at the calendar on "Fat Tuesday" and have had no plans to celebrate the sacred season. But this year, we have a plan. We're celebrating Lent with Sonlight and their Make Room Lenten study.
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The Case For Lent
I didn't grow up celebrating Lent. The only friends I knew that celebrated it were Catholic, and I had no idea that anyone of any Christian beliefs could practice this too. In college, I adopted the practice of "giving something up" simply because others within my church and social circles did it, but I still didn't have an understanding of what the purpose of Lent is. I wonder if its less popular status in the Christian liturgical world is because the foundation is in emptying out and in self-sacrifice, where as Advent is preparing for the arrival of more (the savior). During Advent, we celebrate hope, love, joy, and peace. During Lent we focus on fasting, self-control, alms-giving, and prayer. Lent involves self-sacrifice, a practice that has become less and less popular in our culture of instant gratification.
I'm thankful that my children will have a firmer foundation in this important tradition, thanks to practicing it each year and learning about the "why" behind it. Sonlight's Make Room Lenten study is teaching us what Lent is, and how to make this time of discipline a regular part of our year.
Sonlight's Make Room Lenten Study
If you are new to Sonlight, they make literature-based curriculum that is really easy to follow, is thorough, and includes almost every supply you need to use it. The Make Room study came in a small box with the teacher's guide (which I immediately put in a white binder), craft supplies, recipe cards, and the book Make Room by Laura Alary. For each week in Lent, there are five lessons revolving around the book Make Room. The lessons include scripture reading, hymns, recipes to make, and crafts to create, as well as reading the book. Make Room isn't a long book, but the study breaks it up into smaller sections so that you can discuss and experience the suggestions in the book throughout the Lenten season.
I like that the study begins before Lent, so that we can learn about the origins of Fat Tuesday and prepare for what's ahead in the study. The first week, we wrote names of the people we want to pray for on notecards. It was really sweet to see my three write the names of friends and family members. They really gave it a lot of thought, and my littlest remembers who we are supposed to be praying for at family dinners.
Sonlight's philosophy involves an engaging approach to learning, which includes hands-on projects. My three are especially excited to make the cute little yarn chick craft that comes with the study. What a sweet memory that we will keep and display each Easter!
Putting Down Roots
Lent is approximately seven weeks long, giving us plenty of time to establish important habits of faith, like praying for others, serving others, and practicing self-discipline. These practices will help establish a long-lasting faith, that leads to spiritual maturity. As Rick Warren said, "The only way you get people to take responsibility for their spiritual maturity is to teach them habits of faith."
In our Make Room study, we are reading several passages in Scripture each week, and even the Old Testament verses point to Jesus. We are digging deep with questions, like, "How is the Lord leading you?" that have generated some meaningful conversations in our home. Even the act of baking together gives us time to connect and share spiritual truths.
This Lenten season, I encourage you to focus on celebrating this season of emptying as fervently as you celebrate the season of waiting to be filled.
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