Is it really the end of January already? It must be: my calendar says so.
In January I did the simplest thing ever to observe the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul: I ate a cookie. (Eating Liturgically had suggested that the contrast of the two sides of the cookie showed the dramatic nature of Paul’s conversion.)
You know what? This worked for me. I’m juggling a marriage, a teen and a tween, a new ministry startup and a growing church. I still want my kids to remember the stories of faith. Bringing home cookies was a great excuse to ask them “what do we celebrate today?” Not time consuming, still effective. And they remembered!
I’m still working my way through the Grow Christians housekeeping I planned to complete this month. We have a front page redesign! I’m still updating and reorganizing the Archives. And in case you didn’t know, Grow Christians has moved onto paper too: Forward Movement has a new pamphlet with seven ways to practice faith at home. I think my favorite is the seventh: “Remember: you are forgiven.”
Liturgical Time in February
In February we move from a short green season after Epiphany, through Ash Wednesday and into Lent. It’s a wonderful time for intentional discipleship. There’s a strong tradition of taking on Christian practices for Lent: praying, fasting, and giving help us prepare for the great celebration of the resurrection.
This month’s printable PDF doesn’t include Ash Wednesday since it’s a moveable feast and our calendar shows the fixed observances. But take note! Ash Wednesday is Valentine’s Day this year.
Yes, that’s what I said: you are going to have to think about what message you are sending through your observance of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. There are some things you can control to some degree (family observances) and some things you can’t control (school observances).
We recommend observing Valentine’s Day on the eve (February 13) and Ash Wednesday on the day (February 14). If you do this, it will be a great chance to talk with your kids about your values. If they are teenagers it’s also a great time for them to talk with you about theirs. Some things you can’t control!
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. You really can take kids to this service. In fact, it’s recommended.
There are many, many posts about Lent on Grow Christians – you can find them right here.
Your family’s Lent can be as simple as putting something purple on the dining room table and skipping meat on Fridays, and it can be as deep as making your way through a portion of the Bible or instituting a family prayer practice.
Lent is a great time to try something out of the ordinary for your family. Consider this 40 day period to be a time to let God grow you together, turning aside from temptation and turning toward God.
The Presentation in the Temple/Candlemas
One of our major feasts comes up right away in February: Candlemas is February 2nd. We remember the presentation of the infant Christ in the temple, the song of Simeon, and the celebration of Christ’s presence in the world.
Full Homely Divinity has some wonderful ideas for celebrating with crepes (scroll to the bottom of the page).
The only saint celebrated in February is St. Matthias, who was selected by casting lots. You can talk with your kids about how hard choices are made. Are they casting lots to make their own choices? For this saint we suggest a middle eastern meal – here’s a pita bread recipe and reflection on St. Matthias from our archives to help you along.
February on Grow Christians
As we turn from January into February we’ll have a short series from parents thinking aloud about how to observe Lent with their families this year. We’re also excited to begin to share stories from families who are joining the Good Book Club with their kids and teens for Lent and Easter. Did you see the invitation from the Presiding Bishop to read Luke and Acts this Lent and Easter? It’s a perfect time to sign up for this churchwide read. You can do that right here.
You’re always invited to write for us as well. How are you practicing faith at home in the new year?
What do you hope February holds for you?