Lent is almost upon us! This time of year brings with it so many wonderful memories and feelings for me. To start, five years ago, Lent meant my final period of preparation before becoming Catholic. It was my first major liturgical season fully embracing the traditions and history and beauty of Catholicism. It’s a season of penance, and waiting, but also of hope that is to come. That feels extra significant this year because last year everything began closing down during Lent, and we had to celebrate Easter in our homes. This year we have hope that as summer comes things will start to look a bit less like they have been, and that we’ll be moving closer towards what they will be.
One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is picking up the mail and opening Christmas cards from family and friends. I love seeing family pictures, beautiful holiday illustrations, annual updates, silly stories. Some cards come from those we’ve known our whole lives, while others have been more recent additions. But no matter who it’s from, a holiday card brings a smile to my face and reminds me of all the people we have to be thankful for. We display the cards in the dining room, adding to the collection as the weeks go by.
Our family has started a tradition, one that allows us to pull the Christmas season with us along into the new year, and particularly into Lent. Instead of recycling the cards we received or storing them in a bin, we now place them in a little basket in our bedroom where we do bedtime routine, right in the spot where we read stories, sing songs, share snuggles, and lift up prayers with the kids each night.
Now that Lent is upon us, we will pull out a card each night and share a bit about our relationship and care for the person or family who sent us the card. Then we pray for that family together. We’ll do this for as many nights as it takes for us to pray for them all.
Another variation on this idea would be to gather your family and make a list of people and families that you care about, and choose one from that list each day during Lent to pray for, too, no Christmas cards required.
There are so many beautiful ideas for liturgical living during the season of Lent. I’ve grown fond of selecting a Lenten discipline that adds something to my spiritual life in recent years, and this has been such a simple, yet joyful addition to the devotions of the season for our family as a whole. During a year where there has been less ‘togetherness’ than we’re used to, it feels especially profound to draw near to those we love in prayer in this intentional way.