Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Can you decorate for Lent?

February 24th, 2009 · 10 Comments · Mary and Martha Moments, Prayerful Kitchen

Why not?  The Church does.  We decorate our houses for everything from quasi-religious holidays to seasons in our culture.  I say:  why not make Lent a time where even your house slows down and fasts from culture?

When Ash Wednesday hits, my house is doused in purple.  I am reminded of the season – the Church season – everywhere I look.

I take down some of my everyday “pretty” decorations and replace them with signs to remind me of Jesus’s 40 days in the desert.

My Lenten House

The candy dishes (sniff, sniff) are filled with sand:

candy dishes

The Valentine’s Day wreath comes off the door.  This is my message to the world about keeping it simple during Lent:

door(I got this scrap of fabric at Goodwill for under $1.)

This is my table centerpiece:

tableIt will remind me to try to keep the clutter level lower and clear the table of “stuff” before we start dinner.  (The purple is a piece of a turtleneck that I got an accidental bleached-out spot on, and the tan is from some old khakis — same problem…and I don’t even use bleach!  That’s why this blog isn’t “Laundry Stewardship”…)

Our crucifixes get the treatment:

img_6025

img_6024

And the major show-off-decorations surface in my living room:

img_6027Nothing fancy, no hems…just plain fabric on super sale…

Culture vs. Church

I give in to culture and decorate for Christmas during Advent, although I’m careful to make my table centerpiece the Advent Wreath – only – until Christmas Eve.  But for Lent, I’m sticking with the Church calendar.  Not a single jelly bean or bunny-shaped curio appears in our house until Jesus has risen from the tomb!

Now, should you decorate for Lent?  I don’t think you have to.  It’s just one way I participate in the season.

Other Lenten posts:
On Lenten Sacrifice
Entering Holy Week
No Sugar for Lent

Other Mary and Martha Moments:
Capturing Kitchen Prayer Moments
Trust in the Promise of Your Meal Blessing
Baby Steps
Soul First, Body Second
Pray Constantly

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • alili

    What a wonderful idea! Have a blessed Lenten season. :)

  • Sarah

    I too “decorate” a bit for Lent. Last year I covered all the crosses in our house with dark purple fabric (this year they’re packed away in boxes though!) and, when my littles are older, I hope to make a “Jesus tree” similar to Jessica’s
    http://showerofroses.blogspot.com/search/label/Jesus%20Tree
    (BTW, have you discovered Jessica’s blog yet? She is a must-read for me and has become a blog “friend!:)

    We also are busy collecting books centered on the liturgical year, so as a new season approaches I tend to collect a few more and bring them out for reading. Right now we’re primarily doing board books for my little guy, but I have several titles saved up on my amazon wish list for the future!

    Best,
    Sarah

  • Carolyn

    I am revisiting this topic, as we enter Holy Week and look forward to Easter! I find I have SO many Easter decorations for the kids: bunnies, snow globe, special books, etc. I would love to get them out before Easter Sunday, so we can enjoy them for longer and anticipate Easter in a more tangible way, but also feel drawn this year more into fully embracing Lent and not celebrating Easter at all until Sunday. Any thoughts on this, anyone?? Katie?

    Rebecca K Reply:

    Easter too (like Christmas) lasts more than 1 day! According to the Catholic church Calender, there are 6 “Easter” Sundays (after the major Easter Sunday) and 7 whole weeks of Easter, lasting all the way until Pentecost on May 23 (on Pentecost we have a “birthday party” complete with cake for the church, which started after the Holy Spirit descended on the Upper room). The Ascension of Jesus also is celebrated on May 13. As of May 23 we move into Ordinary Time. Our family enjoys embracing the entire season just as we do in Christmas!

    Katie Reply:

    Rebecca,
    Awesome! I am working on celebrating the season better. Last year we had a Garden of the Good Shepherd calendar for the Easter season, and that totally helped make it celebrate-able.
    Thank you!
    Katie

    Shauna Reply:

    We’re not Catholic, but I try to balance the commercial decorations with more centered on Jesus. We find Easter eggs on Saturday, make special Easter cookies that night ( they become hollow in the oven overnight!), then celebrate the resurrection on Sunday. I’ve told my children that Santa Claus and the Easter bunny are very good friends of Jesus, and they help to celebrate these 2 very special events.

  • Katie

    Carolyn,
    Great question! I, too, love our Easter decorations. Over the past few years decorating for Lent, I’ve somehow trained myself to live in the Church year to the point that when I saw Easter eggs hanging from my neighbors’ trees, just this week, not even that early, I thought, “Easter eggs!? Gasp — It’s still LENT!” I just put up all the Easter decor Saturday night after the kiddos go to sleep, so Easter morning has a little of that “Christmas” feel. Then I leave them up until (a) we get sick of them or (b) Pentecost, the end of the 50 days of Easter. I can eat jelly beans that long, can’t you? ;) I do have the Easter books out — the ones about the real Easter — to read and prepare for the day so my son can listen to the readings (maybe) at Church and know what’s going on.

    That’s what we do in our house. Certainly this is a personal opinion decision. Have a blessed Holy Week!
    Thanks for asking!
    Katie

  • Sandy

    From a confirmed Protestant – thanks for writing this; I’m always relieved to find others who don’t emphasize eggs-and-bunnies. I’ve about given up decorating for Christmas, too, because I can’t stand seeing the holy day completely supplanted by the ‘holiday’ (no kids at home, so my husband and I have an easier time being Puritans than many people do).

  • Nancy

    Thanks, needed a little affirmation on not putting up the pastel decor quite yet. I too would like to use some of my spring decorations during this blah time of the year, but a little voice kept saying it wasn’t really right and would derail our Lenten promises. I’m glad there are others who feel the same way.

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I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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