Sunday, March 9, 2014

Celebrating Lent

We're in the midst of crazy town in the Buck home these days. My husband takes his doctoral exams in exactly one week, and let's just say... it's the most stressed/hardest working I've ever seen him. These things mean business which means he means business which means lots of long days for him which means lots of long days for me. I have so much more respect and admiration for my med school wives after going through this! Thankfully, it will be over in just two weeks' time, but it has left my heart longing for some capital "T" Truth and Peace in my days. So! Inspired by some lovely bloggers I read, we are celebrating Lent.

Lent actually began this past Wednesday but we are following John Piper's Lenten devotional readings. There is one reading for each Sunday of Lent as well as for Good Friday and Easter. I'd have been happy just to do the readings, but they accompany instructions for incorporating candles into the observance. As I read the explanation, I knew I must have candles: "'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.' (John 1:5). But for a while it seemed as if the darkness was overcoming—for a long while. Your seven candles symbolize the Light of the World—the Light that was God’s glory and that illuminated God for us—the Light that, in the end, seemed to have been darkened. As we move through the season preceding Easter, the candles are snuffed out one by one, until all are dark on Good Friday, when Jesus died and the earth was covered with shadow. Darkness apparently had won. The Light of the World had been extinguished. It was finished. But NO! Easter brings resurrection! Life! Return from death! The Light has won and all the candles burn as we praise him—the Light of the World, the Bright Morning Star, the Glory of God."

Unfortunately, right now, the dollar bills are few and far between so I couldn't very well go out and spend a fortune on a beautiful Lenten candle centerpiece. Thanks to the beauty of Pinterest, I put together my very own for about $3. Want to see?!?

I happen to have about a thousand of these bad boys sitting around:
Baby food jars

That's right! Baby food jars! They make perfect votive holders. Except that they're clear and not pretty. No fear...

Glue and tissue paper

I picked up this regular ol' Elmer's glue and some tissue paper for about $3 at the grocery store. I used them to transform my little jars! First, I mixed some glue with water, about 50/50 ratio (to make what is essentially Modge Podge without paying more for it...). I tore up the tissue paper into little pieces and then spread a thin layer of the watery glue onto my jar. I stuck the paper to the glue in a mosaic-style pattern:
Around and around the jar I went until I reached where I started. I tried to keep it relatively even at the top and bottom so it looked more intentional. Overlap is good; it makes darker and lighter shades of the color which is perfect. When I finished it looked like this:
Pieces kind of sticking off and all. To keep it all in place, I spread another layer of the watery glue over the paper. It seals it down while still keeping its papery texture. While wet, it looks sad and weird:
But once it dries???
Pretty, right?! I repeated this six times to have a total of seven jars for candles. I rummaged around in our cabinets for a pretty plate/bowl to collect them on:
A lovely wedding gift from a sweet friend!

All lit, I think they are simply beautiful:
We sat down as a family tonight and began our reading...

We talked about man trading the truth of God for a lie. "For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened." My son blew out the first candle...

We will start off next week with just six candles lit and each week snuff another one out.

I am so excited to be adding some weight to this Easter season. The walk to the cross is long and we will bear it up under the weight of Truth and fill our hearts with the hope of Peace.

*If you don't have time for the whole Lenten celebration, the Piper's did this devotional series in a week. You can read about that here.

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