The green table is moving! I'll begin posting again after we're all set up in our new home!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Making a Lent Tree

I don't know about you, but I've never really understood Easter egg trees.  Cute as they may be, eggs do not grow on trees. I do wish chocolate eggs grew on trees.  A bumper harvest of golden eggs would be nice too!

My real problem with egg trees is that they are made from Easter eggs, emphasis on the word Easter.  Advent is to Christmas as Lent is to Easter, and that time of preparation is important. Each season is a distinct time for us to continue the journey to the cross. In Lent the Holy Spirit works to reset our hearts, calling us to faith and repentance, and thereby preparing us for the joy of Easter.  During Lent, silly little egg trees just make me cringe. 

Still, my little ones love egg trees, so I started thinking.

The view from Adelae's window, and her Lent Tree
As I look out the window here in Naples, FL, our trees are ready for Palm Sunday. I often like to bring a few fronds in for Holy Week and for Easter Sunday.  More about that in a few weeks, but if palms are paradise, a weeping willow is a tree for Lent.

There is something morose, yet peaceful, about a weeping willow.  Ahh, to crawl under a willow tree with a good book and cool drink on a hot summer day!  The weeping willow is my Lenten tree not only because of the internal weeping, sorrow, of a repentant heart, but also because of that peace.  Lent isn't about focusing on ourselves, our sins, our alms, our prayers, our fasting.  Lent isn't even just about Jesus' weeping and pain on the cross.  Lent is about peace.  Lent is Christ, our peace. In His bitter suffering and death Christ made peace with the Father for our sinful souls. 

Instead of setting up an Easter egg tree this year, why not join me in making a Lenten willow?  We like to set up our "Lent Tree" on a tree in our courtyard where my daughter can see it from her bedroom window. 
To make a Lent Tree you'll need a spool or two of purple curling ribbon and a small tree.  We reused our ribbon from last year. Cut the ribbon in long lengths according to the height of your tree.
Work with your children to tie the ribbons all over your tree.  I like to curl them a little bit. That's it!  You have a "weeping" Lent Tree that blows gently in the breeze.
Every time you walk by the tree, at work or play, talk to your children about Jesus and the peace He gives us in His death on the cross. Keep talking, all the way up and through Easter morning.
Now for the really fun part! Tip toe out to the tree early on Easter morning.  Finally it's time for the Easter Eggs!  Sandwich the ribbon between the two halves of the Easter egg.  I like to fill the eggs with little Easter stickers and other treats before snapping them together.  String a series of eggs on each length of ribbon. 
How exciting to find the tree full of eggs on Easter morning! Making a Lent Tree with my little ones is a tradition that helps us teach the children the connection between Lent and Easter, while keeping them separate and special. 

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