The Lenten Tree

IMG_2970Devotions for Children and Adults to Prepare for Christs’ Death and His Resurrection, by Dean Lambert Smith As we journey through the Calendar of the Church Year with our Blacknall children in Children’s Worship, they often remind us that the season of Lent is longer than the season of Advent because it takes longer to get ready. Ready for what? To be ready for the mystery of Easter. It’s such a great mystery that we take six weeks—40 days—to approach Easter.

I know from talking with your children that many of you use the symbol of a tree in your home as you prepare for Christmas during the season of Advent. Specifically, it’s called a Jesse Tree, and you add ornaments that have symbols of the upcoming arrival of the Christ child to the branches each day. One of the authors of a devotional for the Jesse Tree is Dean Lambert Smith. In this book, The Lenten Tree, she has created 40 devotionals to use with special symbols for the season of Lent.

I hope to place the ornaments on a “tree” on the bulletin board by the nursery desk as we walk through Lent—take a few moments to look at it with your children as you pass by.

The Lenten Tree includes beautiful drawings that may be copied for use as ornaments for each day. Each two page devotion centers on the symbol for that day. On one page is a devotion for adults, and on the other, a corresponding devotion for family use. Each symbol is explained with Scriptures, questions, prayers, a memory verse, and songs. Some days also include a Lenten activity to use with your children. As Smith says, “Children learn by doing, and these activities will make the lessons they learn during Lent more meaningful.” In the final Appendix of the book, Smith includes some recipes for dishes that correspond to certain days during Lent, which may be used if you wish—they are a little more in-depth than the typical activities included in the devotions.

Whether you have used the Jesse Tree as a tool for your Advent devotions with your family or not, I encourage you to take a look at The Lenten Tree. I hope to place the ornaments on a “tree” on the bulletin board by the nursery desk as we walk through Lent—take a few moments to look at it with your children as you pass by.

Smith finishes her introduction by saying, “Lent is a time that children can learn how much Jesus loves them and the great sacrifice He made for their eternal life…The adult devotions are intended for realization, reflection, and resolve to walk in His steps.” I pray for each of you that Lent this year will be a time of drawing together with your family to prepare together as you journey toward Jerusalem and the great mystery of Easter—that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to sit at the right hand of God the Father almighty—for us!

- Beth Solie, Blacknall Director of Preschool Children’s Ministries