The Messiah Mystery : A Family Lenten Journey

It's one of those things that bugs me: Why is Christmas a season? And Easter a day?

We need both holy days, desperately. Both are reason to celebrate. Both herald a new beginning, the dawn of a new age.

But one could argue that Easter is more important. Obviously, without Christmas - without the birth of Jesus - there would be no resurrection.

But without Easter, there is no hope.

So it gets under my skin a bit, that we have endless parties and traditions and songs and foods to mark Christmas, but very little to make Easter meaningful. (And things like Easter egg hunts and pretty dresses don't count in my mind. Those are celebrations of spring, not of Jesus.)

I especially want my kids to understand the awe of Easter. I want them to know the reason why Jesus' coming is the epicenter of history, why his death matters, why his new life changes everything. I want them to get caught in the downpour of joy that can only come when we find Jesus alive again. I want them to feel the mountains tremble.

And to do this, I think they need to experience Lent.

Maybe not the way adults do it. Telling my five-year-old that she can't eat chocolate for the next six weeks is not going to draw her nigh to God, you know what I mean?

But I think we need more than a weekend to cover this. We need a build-up, a countdown, a reminder of what's coming. I want anticipation.

The back of my brain is always chewing on this, on how to make Easter relevant and real to my family.

Last year, I had the opportunity to test out a new product being developed by FamilyLife co-founder Barbara Rainey called The Messiah Mystery. It's a six-week journey, designed to begin on Ash Wednesday, that leads kids to follow clues and discover the true meaning of Lent and prepare for Holy Week. It's an easily adaptable resource. Have little kids who can't sit still during Bible reading? Just read the bold sections of the devotional. Need to condense six weeks into four? No problem. Since there's really just one big activity a week, you can adapt. Want to make the lessons really interactive for antsy kids? There are ideas for that.

I especially love the reason why Barbara created The Messiah Mystery. She says, in the intro: "I remember well how busy I was as a mom of six. It was a challenge to create meaningful moments with my children. So I've worked hard to make "The Messiah Mystery" as easy to use as possible."

Don't you love that? She's like a busy mom's elf. She does the work, and we reap the benefits.

This year, I have The Messiah Mystery 2.0, as it were.



Barbara and her team modified last year's beta version to produce an updated, even more exciting kit. There's just one problem: It already sold out.

Of course, that makes this giveaway that much more awesome, because I have one of the few remaining kits to give to one of you. It's a limited edition, y'all.

The kit includes instructions, a journal filled with stories and clues, a magnifying glass, two clue books to document your discoveries, and a 20”x 24” poster with 40 paper strips that reveal a beautiful image on the final day of Lent.

I've had some technical difficulties with my blog this week, so to up your odds, I'm going to leave the giveaway open until Ash Wednesday, February 13. FamilyLife has promised to mail The Messiah Mystery kit right away to the winner, so you won't be far behind. And a quick note: You can enter the contest once a day by Tweeting about it. Feel free to exploit that option. Happy clicking!

(If you aren't familiar with Rafflecopter, don't be scared by the widget. Just click the +1 next to each option and then hit the big "Enter!" or "I Tweeted" or "I'm a Fan" button after you earn an entry! If you've done it right, you should see a big "Done!" button replace the +1. And if you're really observant, you'll see the number of total entries at the top of the widget grow by one with every entry you make. You can also check the number of entries you have in the top right corner; if you've used every option to enter, it will say 3/3.)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

28 comments:

  1. Oh this is great! I already have Caleb Voskamp's from the Cradle to the Grave Advent/Lent wooden wreath thing, but this would be GREAT. A Lenten (Advent) calendar, if you will. I want it!

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  2. With our firstborn being only almost 2, we're just now exploring how to make Easter a meaningful season for our family. I look forward to developing habits and traditions that teach our son the significance of the Resurrection.

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    1. We have an Easter egg set that is 12 eggs and they each contain a small item that represents part of the Easter story (crown of thorns, cloth, etc.). Now that my boys are older (9 and 7) I'd love to include something that is more meaningful.

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  4. I so so so want this. My kids have never had an "Easter egg hunt," because we try so strongly to tie the candy and commercial junk to Spring instead of Easter, but I have really found the Lenten devotionals for kids to be lacking. Easter and Thanksgiving are probably my two favorite holidays, and one can only sing "Up from the Grave He Arose" so many times before the kids get bored of it... ;)

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  5. I can't believe they sold out! I heard the podcast about it the other day (serves me right for listening a week behind) and went to buy it only to find it no longer available. Found your blog in looking for other options. :) The Messiah Mystery looks wonderful and I am glad your family is able to use it to make Resurrection Sunday all the more meaningful.

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  6. Oops, just read what I am supposed to comment on -- We use the Resurrection Eggs along with the book "Benjamin's Box". Have also tried to go through the devotional by Ann Voskamp as well as make a Resurrection garden. I posted about a few other resources I like also -- http://manymasonmoments.blogspot.com/2011/04/preparing-for-resurrection-sunday.html

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  7. We focus on the Christian aspects of Easter. We go to church Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And talk a lot about it with the kids that have more questions as they grow older. We don't give gifts in Easter baskets and we love to spend time with family.

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  8. Oh I love this! Bummer it's sold out. Sadly, I haven't yet done anything special for my family in years past to celebrate Easter. Last year I got the kids the resurrection eggs (which they loved), but I love the idea of the weeks leading up to it.

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  9. This post got me! You are totally right. We haven't done much consistently with our boys, but I am determined to start something this year!

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  11. Would love to win this! We have used the resurrection eggs for the kids in the past.

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  12. We attend the Triduum Masses at our church, where much of the story is acted (we wash feet on Holy Thursday, etc.) Hearing the story over 3 days really helps with their understanding.

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  13. this sounds wonderful! I too want ways to make Easter season more special. :-)

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  14. I'm always on the lookout for things to do to make Easter more meaningful for my kids. We have done Resurrection Eggs, Lent devotions, and, of course, attending church several times over Easter weekend. But it always seems to pale in comparison to all we do for Christmas, although it's nice that it's so much less commercialized and stressful

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  15. I'm not entering, as I think my kids are too old. But I agree--it bugs me so much. We do so little in church--we acknowledge Palm Sunday and then it's Easter Sunday, and we have to sing Resurrection hymns, rightly, but when do we meditate on the cross? And why don't we have CD after CD of Easter music? (Because the world accepts a birth easily, but not a death and a (gulp) resurrection (?) ) Anyway. I'll stop ranting in your comment section, and think what I could do in my own family this year.
    Our little expat church in Morocco did a great job with Easter, btw.

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  16. Would LOVE, LOVE to use this in our family. Came upon being looking to buy one, too late and feel like this year is a crux year in the spiritual growth of our eldest, as she turns 13 this week. Thanks for making this available to one of us. :)

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  17. We like to go through the Resurrection Eggs with our kids, and we usually make Resurrection Rolls, too. But this sounds like a great addition and a way to change it up a bit!

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  18. We've been talking about finding something we can do as a family. This looks great!

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    1. We don't do a lot, but we do talk constantly about what Easter really means.

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  19. We invite all our friends over for Church and to our house for a potluck afterwards.

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  20. We get involved with the church production and that definitley makes Easter come alive!

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  21. In the past, we haven't put much thought into Easter until the week of! As my kids are getting older, we are realizing the importance of making Easter more celebrated than Christmas! Here's to fresh beginnings!! =)

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  22. Thank you for this post! We haven't done anything special (helped out at church fish dinners, helped make palm crosses...but sometimes I feel that we have just "gone through the motions") during the Lenten season...but this post was the inspiration that I need to begin this new journey! Thanks! I look forward to following you throughout!
    LA :)
    www.simplysmilingblog.blogspot.com

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  23. We usually do the Easter eggs leading up to Easter. This sounds wonderful and so bummed! its sold out!

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