The Irreplaceable Importance Of Family Traditions, And Why Lent Should Be One Of Them

Ed Drew | March 4th 2019

Family life is predictably unpredictable. It is chaotic and confused.

Do you have a toddler who starts their game of hide and seek just as you’re trying to get them dressed? Or an eight year old who covertly begins a craft with the paint tipped into each of your mugs, the face paints daubed over the younger sibling and the glue covering most flat surfaces? Teenagers may be closer to adulthood but their capacity to place a spanner in the works only grows with them. Why would you walk into the bathroom at the exact time we’re meant to be walking out the front door?

But let me ask you what is there in your family’s life that is predictable? What does usually happen?

Teeth get brushed each day. Stories get read before sleep. Shoes get put on before going outside (usually).

If I think a bit harder… My daughter still climbs into our bed when she can’t sleep. We light fires whenever we can. We swim in whatever sea, river or lake we come across. We cook pancakes on Saturdays if we’re not busy. Grandad drives them around his garden on his sit-on mower. We go to a particular beach with their cousins.

The Wonder of Easter

The Wonder of Easter

$12.99 $11.04

Lent devotional that both children and adults can enjoy

Traditions create purpose and memories

Those are some of our family traditions. Those are some of our distinctives. They give us our memories. They make us different to others. Mostly they just happen. Perhaps because it’s our idea of a good time. Or because one child loves it when that happens. But sometimes we deliberately choose to do it that way. We want a memory to be created. We want a habit to be remembered. For example, at Grandad’s house I leave the children to go downstairs a little earlier and I wait a bit longer until I go down because I know Grandad will be there. I want them to get to know Grandad better.  On Christmas day we wait a little longer before we open presents, because I think there will be a little more calm, a little more gratitude and a little less of a wrapping paper storm of entitlement.

Habits, routine, eccentricities and memories create a sense of identity. We know who we are. We know who we are not. We begin to wonder if some things will stay constant. We know that we belong.

Traditions provide a sense of belonging

Being a Christian can make us and our children feel a bit odd. Our children realise that being a Christian means that they are not like others. At those times when they want to fit in, being a Christian can feel like they will never belong. There are good reasons to deliberately create Christian routines in our families. Routines create security out of difference. Traditions create belonging, normality and comfort when it is tempting for our children to believe that they will only ever feel excluded.

Going to church is the first routine for Christian families. Many read a Bible story and pray before bed with younger children. Car journeys are never the same again after the discovery of Christian kids’ music.

A jewel of a habit is for a family to read the Bible together with a short time to ask questions, to talk and to pray. I have one friend who says she cannot remember a day under her father’s roof when he didn’t take the time to open the Bible with his family. I am in awe of such discipline. What a message that sent out to his family. What a priority! For the rest of us, we can do our best to talk about a few verses with our children on those days that it feels possible. And if that isn’t yet a family habit, then Lent is a great time to start, to make Easter a highlight of the year.

It all starts with pancakes!

Lent is embedded into church tradition to allow Christians to prepare for Easter. Originally Lent was 40 days of fasting remembering that Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days without food at the start of his public ministry. In the UK, the tradition that has remained is eating pancakes the night before the start of Lent, before the fasting begins. Scoffing pancakes is now the preparation for 40 days of waiting for chocolate! The title of my book started as “Lent family devotions” until I established that no one seemed to use the words ‘Lent’ or ‘devotions’. Everyone seemed happy with the word ‘family’!

I wanted to put a book into the hands of families that would give even the most nervous and inexperienced parent a chance to learn how to open the Bible together, at the most important time of the year.

Get your family ready for Easter this year. It could become a new exciting tradition. Your family will never enjoy Easter more than when you have seen the true Wonder of Easter in the pages of Luke’s Gospel.

The Wonder of Easter is a flexible, easy-to-use Lent devotional which allows both adults and children to celebrate the limitless wonder of Easter. Walk through Luke’s Gospel and the Old Testament to discover why the story of Jesus' death and resurrection is the most amazing story ever told. Buy it here

Ed Drew

Ed Drew is the Director of Faith in Kids, resourcing children's ministry in the local church. Before that for twelve years he was the Children’s Worker at Dundonald Church, South West London. He’s married to Mary and they have three children. Previously Ed was an Engineer and he is still happiest building and fixing things.

Featured product