Lent is upon us.
During this solemn six-week observance which begins on Ash Wednesday (this year, February 13) we prepare ourselves for Holy Week, and remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross — and His resurrection — to save us from our sins.
One way to help your children understand the importance of sacrifice is to make a crown of thorns. This reminds them of how much Christ suffered for us.
For our family, we’ve found the best and most practical way of doing this (and there are many ways you can do this) is to buy a plain brown wreath from a craft store like Hobby Lobby. The wreath is not too big and is made of branches wrapped together.
We then buy toothpicks and black dye, so the toothpicks can be colored black to look like thorns.
We place the toothpicks in the wreath (see the picture on the right) so that our wreath resembles a crown of thorns. This is really easy and does not take much time!
Then we place the crown of thorns on a purple cloth (the liturgical color of Lent). The color purple reminds us of two things: the royalty of Jesus our King, and it serves as a sign of penance.
Next we place the cloth and crown on a crystal platter and put it in the center of our dining room table.
Each day during Lent, whenever someone makes a sacrifice or does a good deed, we remove a thorn from the crown — symbolizing a desire to lessen the suffering of Christ.
I explain this to the children ahead of time. We talk about what would constitute taking a thorn out of the crown. Examples might include:
- Helping mom in the kitchen without being asked
- Not arguing with a sibling when it would be so easy to get upset
- Taking out the trash when it is your brother’s chore (but doing it for him out of the goodness of your heart)
The objective is that by the end of the 40 days of Lent, all the “thorns” will be removed.
When Lent is over and all the toothpicks are gone, we celebrate Jesus’ triumph over suffering and death by placing either sticker flowers or cloth flowers, from a craft store, on the crown of thorns. We also remove the purple penitent cloth and replace it with a white cloth, symbolizing the Resurrection.
You can also leave the crown of flowers in the center of your table for the 50 days of Easter.
One book about Lent that has been very helpful to me over the years (click picture for more info):
Another great book that I highly recommend (click picture for more info):
Both of these books are awesome.
Have a holy Lent!