Like most three-year-olds, Abby is pretty all-or-nothing when it comes to stories. When she’s on a kick, we read one thing exclusively for several weeks until she moves on to the next thing. At the moment, she’s fixated on the story of Jesus on the cross. One night when I suggested we read one of the other stories about Jesus, she refused: “No. I want the one where he is dead.” On one hand, I worry about her morbid fascination with the picture in the story Bible of Jesus with all of his boo-boos, but on the other hand I’m proud of the way she’s obviously internalized the liturgical calendar from a young age. (I’m kidding, of course.)
Along with her nightly reading of the crucifixion story (we do read all the way through the empty tomb part, in case you’re wondering), Abby also started requesting songs about the cross. I tried to introduce her to a variety of songs on the topic, but we’ve been stuck exclusively on “The Old Rugged Cross” ever since Abby learned that it’s her Mawmaw’s favorite. Fortunately, it’s a great hymn, and there is something to be said for repetition, because Abby’s already memorized the first verse and the chorus.
Inspired by Abby’s great idea, and also shamed by how few “Jesus on the cross” songs that I could sing off the top of my head, I created a new playlist for Lent. I listen to it daily, and it’s a great way to focus in on those hymns that speak particularly to this season. (It was also a great excuse to download a few new songs from iTunes.)
Here are a few other signs of Lent around the house:
(encouragement for this year’s fast)
Tiny sprouts are growing in all of our pots!
Behind Abby’s pot you can see seven candles, one for each week of Lent. We’re adopting Noel Piper’s tradition of “reverse Advent” candles– we begin the season with all candles lit, but light one less candle each week. On Good Friday, the last candle is extinguished, symbolizing the seeming triumph of darkness. Then on Easter Sunday, all seven candles are lit again, because Christ is Risen, and the Light shines bright again, once and for all!
Over my sink, I’ve written a couple of lines from the hymn “Abide With Me,” which I’m trying to memorize.
It’s a great hymn for Lent, and for the rest of the year, too.