Faithful Families for Lent, Easter, and Resurrection: Simple Ways to Create Meaning for the Season

Traci Smith
Chalice Press, 144 pages

As a full-time pastor and mother of two children under 5, thinking about creating rituals for my own household around Lent and Easter seems overwhelming. I don’t know that I would have considered it a practical option until I read this book. In the introduction, Traci Smith immediately offers suggestions to help any overwhelmed or overworked parent to begin without any kind of guilt. Her gracious opening eases the guilt even a pastor/mother like me has about creating rituals for her own children, which compelled me to read on! Smith even suggests rest as a practice, and helps readers consider whether additional practices are realistic in this time. With the suggestions of how to adapt them for older and younger children, I found the actual practices incredibly tangible and do-able.

For example, I love that Smith suggests simplifying rather than fasting. In each page of this chapter, she helps families envision what they could do to honor the season of Lent; instead of giving up sugary drinks, she suggests that we start by drinking more water. She ends with a family challenge: “How many days can we drink water instead of something sweet?” Smith makes this practice feel like such fun that I can even see my 4-year-old eagerly participating! I also appreciate that all her suggestions include practices that extend hospitality to yourself, your neighbor and creation. Each page is its own practice, so the format is easily accessible.

Smith also offers a daily practice and written prayer for Holy Week. Each day contains Scripture, a reflection, an activity, and a written prayer. She’s able to articulate the theology around the season of Lent and Easter clearly and discusses how to share the difficult parts of the Easter story (i.e. the cross and Jesus’ death) with children in age and developmentally appropriate ways.

Overall, I see this book appealing to a wide range of church-going families seeking easy and gentle practices around the season of Lent and Easter. It might prove particularly useful this year if COVID continues to make it difficult for churches to host in-person gatherings. I can imagine how these practices will strengthen family relationships and faith through their ease of use, creativity and by offering a way to engage together with wonder and intention. I don’t know that I would have thought it possible to attempt something like this with my own young children (especially during the busy ministry season of Lent), but I intend to use it this year. The only improvement would be a spiral-bound version so that I could leave the pages open! I highly recommend this for anyone seeking spiritual practices with their families.

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