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Lent, Easter, and Families

The season of Lent will begin two weeks from today, on Ash Wednesday. This is a notable time for Christians–to bow their hearts before God, with true humility, repentance of sins, and a determined desire to seek God’s presence without ceasing. It is also a time to eagerly anticipate Easter Sunday, as Christians around the world celebrate our resurrected Lord. How are we doing, Christians?  For me perslentcross.jpg (10912 bytes)onally, I desire to spend this time (40 weekdays and 6 Sundays) by intentionally surrendering my time, talents, and thoughts to Jesus. You say, “Shouldn’t this be the norm 365 days a year?” Of course, but as we study the life of Jesus, there were “special” times set aside to pray and prepare one’s heart. Jesus knew the importance of reading and teaching God’s Word in the temple (Luke 2:41-49). And there were many times when Jesus reminded his disciples to pray without ceasing (Luke 18:1-8). One of the most touching examples of Christ’s humility, with exception of the Cross, is when he “wrapped a towel around his waist…and began to wash his disciples’ feet” (John 13:1-20). Jesus not only demonstrated a servant’s role through foot-washing, but he also illustrated the Father’s forgiveness towards others (see also Matt. 5:23-24; Eph. 4:32). There are so many other instances in Scripture where Jesus intentionally set aside specific times to show His genuine love and obedience to His Heavenly Father. The significant ones I’ve listed are just an inkling into what I believe God wants us to emulate.

Families, take some time during Lent to intentionally follow the example of Jesus. Set aside some”special” time to bow your hearts before God, in true humility, repentance, and with a desire to fully seek God’s presence.

There are endless ideas on the internet to help families prepare their hearts for Easter.  Here’s a couple that you may find helpful. The most important way, however, is to spend time together as a family, reading the Gospel accounts of Holy Week. I’ve included a link to the Christian Resource Institute (CRI), where you can read more on the Season of Lent.

http://www.crivoice.org/cylent.html

Shop FamilyLife – Messiah Mystery™ Lent Kit.

DIY Mini Resurrection Garden — We are THAT Family

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 11: 50 am - in Easter

 

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Christmas White Dove

Dove 3Instead of opting for the familiar White Elephant gift exchange, our family has a White Dove gift exchange on Christmas day.  The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17). This is the first clear expression of the concept of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).

The Holy Spirit is God, just as the Father and Son are. The Holy Spirit now makes His home in every believer’s life, enabling communication with God through prayer. The emphases of the White Dove gift exchange is Prayer.

White Dove Selection  Each family member selects a personal item that holds special meaning. For instance, one year my husband selected a hand-written note that he had given to his mom as a young teen. He had found the note tucked away in his mother’s cherished possessions following her death. The carefully selected item becomes the White Dove. It is gift-wrapped, labeled with the giver’s name, and awaits its recipient on Christmas day. (Note: The item (White Dove) may remain the same each year, or a new item may be selected.)

We later changed our White Dove exchange from Christmas to our Family Legacy Day.

White Dove Gift Exchange Each person passes their White Dove gift around to all participating family members. This may be done by reading the Christmas story (right/left game), or by listening to a favorite Christmas song. The exchange concludes when the story or song ends and each person is holding a White Dove gift. From youngest to oldest, everyone takes a turn opening their White Dove gift and discloses the giver’s name. The owner of the White Dove then may choose to share the reason for selecting their item. After everyone has had a turn to open their White Dove gifts, a prayer is offered for each family member.

1-Year Prayer Commitment  The White Dove is taken home and placed in a prominent viewing spot, where it serves as a reminder to pray daily for that particular family member throughout the new year. Family members are also encouraged to contact the person who has their White Dove when they have a specific/personal/urgent prayer request. I have found that texting or leaving a voice message about a specific prayer request works well. I often sense God’s peace, knowing that I am being prayed for by my White Dove caretaker.

Praises  Prior to each year’s White Dove gift exchange, each family member has an opportunity to praise God for answered prayers. They may also choose to retell any significant times of prayer (received or offered).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 3: 12 pm - in Christmas, Faith at Home

 

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