I love this family devotional published by one of our curriculum writing companies! I encourage each family to share and discuss this over the dinner table. Kids are starving for more!
WEEK 1: ASH WEDNESDAY
"…All come from dust, and to dust all return."
Dust is everywhere—dust bunnies hide under beds, dust balls collect in corners, fine particles float in the air, and a dirty film coats every undisturbed surface in our homes. Dust invades even unreachable spots, like under the refrigerator and behind furniture. We can’t hide from dust!
Today is Ash Wednesday, the day we are reminded that humankind is made from dust and that, one day, our bodies will turn back into dust again. Ash Wednesday kicks off the church season of Lent, the 40 days Christians get ready for Easter. Some people celebrate the day with a smear of dust on their foreheads in the shape of a cross.
There is no right or wrong way to get ready for Easter. Some Christians use the days leading to Easter as a time to become closer friends with Jesus. Some try to remove unhealthy or meaningless habits from their lives during these days. Instead of using time to eat chocolate or watch internet videos, they focus on God. Some Christians use Lent to add activities to their schedules to allow them to share more time with God: they may spend more time in prayer, enjoy regular quiet time to read God’s word, or volunteer to help people in their neighborhood.
The cross is a symbol of our faith. Wherever you see it, think of it as an invitation from your friend, Jesus. Jesus invites us to follow and live like him, notice his love in action in the world, and welcome God’s love and grace into our lives. Like a party invitation, the cross invites us to spend more time with Jesus, learn more about his life, and ask him more questions. The cross reminds us that we can’t hide from God’s love!
Take on the household task of dusting as you discuss these questions. Before you get out the cleaning rags and feather dusters, seek out dusty spots and draw crosses with your fingers.
What is Jesus inviting you to do to get ready for Easter?
What questions do you have about God?
What questions do you want to ask God?
Sprinkle a handful of flour on a baking tray and draw in the dust. Notice the natural instinct to create in the dust, just like our Creator God. Point out how easily the dust spreads, like God’s love. From dust you have come and to dust you shall return!
With a dry-erase marker, mark each mirror in your home, vehicle and bags with a cross. Each time you draw a cross, remind yourself, “God loves me!” Each time you see one of these crosses during this Lent, imagine it as your personal invitation to spend more time with God.
WEEK 2- The Promise of Easter
Family Devotions for Lent
(as posted on beaming books blog)
"Grace and peace be yours in abundance."
1 Peter 1:2b
We don’t usually notice abundance or plenty in our day-to-day lives. We tend to focus on what falls in the “not enough” category: gas, money, time and chocolate cake. We may feel like we have an overflowing amount of worries, homework and chores. When it comes to what we need, sometimes it feels like there could never be enough.
Jesus’ first miracle is in response to not having enough. The story in the second chapter of John tells us that as guests at a wedding, Jesus and his mother Mary are surprised to learn that the hosts have run out of wine. Jesus gets to work to fix the problem. He changes the water in six large jars into wine. No magic wand or special words were necessary. By the power of God, where once there was water, the six jars are now brimming with wine—not just any wine, but, as the master of the banquet declares, the best wine.
The way that Jesus gives the wine at the wedding teaches us how God works in our lives.
Jesus gives more than enough wine for all of the guests to have plenty, plus leftovers. God knows our needs and provides for us. God fills our lives to the brim with good gifts: love, peace, joy, forgiveness and grace.
Jesus fills the water jars with the best wine. The gifts of God are the best gifts of life. We can’t do anything to earn these gifts, or have them taken away. God loves us that much.
During these days that lead to the cross, watch for the abundant grace of God. Let the love that fills you up with the best overflow into the lives of those around you. God will never run out of love for you!
Order a round of refillable drinks at a restaurant. Note the bottomless abundance in your cups. Enjoy sips as you discuss these questions:
What’s on your dream list of what you’d like to have in abundance?
What does your family have in abundance? What do you need less of?
What kinds of things does God give in abundance?
How can we share God’s gifts with others?
Make a miracle! Give each family member a cup of cool water and a spoon. Squirt wine-colored drink mix into the water and stir, turning your water into sweet “wine.” Share about what miracles you observed today: a sunset, a hug, God’s love in action.
Share from your family’s abundance. Collect gently used or unused items from around the house to give away to a donation service or family in need. Encourage each other to give the best from your shelves and closets.