Lent is a time full of emotions, almost like an emotional rollercoaster. There are times of joy, fear, tiredness, anger, sadness and awe. The journey of motherhood is very much the same. From the time your child enters the world your emotions are constantly changing and it is up to us to teach this next generation the importance of the emotions and how they can affect you. In a world where emotions are often hidden behind screens, it is time that we prepare our little ones to become self-confident in knowing when their emotions are appropriate.
This has been designed by a Mum and due to my limited experience of being anything else will probably be suited to other “Mums” primarily. But this doesn’t mean that others cannot engage with it should they feel it works for them also. I also hope that this will allow you to engage with your children no matter what age so that you may read the reflection together and then each respond together or separately in a different way in the week. You may find starting each day with reading the Bible passage and the reflections help you to constantly look for where that emotion plays in your everyday life and if it is useful or needs some readjustment. I pray that at the end of this you will feel that you have gained some resilience with regards to your emotions and are more prepared for the year ahead as well as more engaged with the story of Lent.
Week One- Joy
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.
What makes you happy? Is it dancing? Or maybe it’s your favourite teddy bear (let’s be honest we all have one)? Maybe it’s ice-cream or some other sweet filled treat? We all have something that brings us joy in our life. Now let’s just take a moment to think of the thing that brings us joy. Maybe talk about it together and then throw a party to celebrate and thank God for all the things that bring us joy.
Now let’s take a moment to find a blanket or a flag or anything you can find to wave and take a moment to imagine what it must have felt like to be in the crowd as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Everyone is excited, there is a lot of noise and there is a buzz in the air.
We can find joy in unexpected places. Even on the hardest of days. So as the day goes by look for where the joy is, embrace it.
Reflection for Mum’s
Some would say that Mum’s have one of the hardest jobs in the world. Some days it can be extremely hard to find the joy as the mundane of everyday life, where nappies and lack of sleep feel the order of the day. But all it takes is for them to do something unexpected, something that you do not expect for there to be that light in the darkness. It is a privilege to watch my daughter grow and experience the world for the first time and that is what I try to hold on to even on the darkest of days.
Now is our time to respond to God’s call for joy in our lives. Below are a number of activities that people can choose their own level and how deep they go. Try just one all week or a different one each day in whatever style you desire:
- Thank God for all the things that bring you joy in your life. You can do this as a traditional prayer or you may like to, especially with younger children, do this with musical instruments, or dancing to your favourite Christian music. Sometimes, especially if that time is hard, God hears our prayers in our acts, including our joyful acts.
- Make joyful music to God in praise for all the good things in life
- Have a party to celebrate all the good things in life. Maybe make a cake, invite people around.
- If you are struggling at the moment, try to find one thing to be grateful for each day and make a note of it somewhere. At the end of the week gather these up and reflect on what brings you joy and if these activities can occur more in your life. Or more long term start a gratitude journal.
- Make a space in the house where anyone can put up a note to say what has brought them joy that week or take up the practice of before the family meal telling everyone one thing that has brought you joy.
- Make a flag and spend many happy hours waving it around.
- Especially with little ones show them pictures of happy faces and ask them if they can copy the happy face. Ask them to see if they can spot who is happy in various stories during the week and why.
- Write a letter to someone to explain why they bring joy to your life. Or find another way to bring joy to someone else’s life in a small way this Lent. Maybe through 40 Acts.