Maybe I’m just a slacker, but Lent crept up on me this season! Before I knew it, we were two weeks in and I haven’t even thought of what I’m giving up yet! I’ve been thinking a lot about this Lent thing (40 days leading up to Easter) and it’s something we’ve been talking about in Youth Group…
Yes, the tradition is to give something up for Lent, to make a sacrifice of some sort in order to draw nearer to God as we draw nearer Easter and honor the sacrifice that He made for us. However, I’m of the mindset that the importance is not on the giving something up, but rather on making a lifestyle change that will help me focus on walking closely with Christ. And actually, this might mean adding something to my life. Enter, the Lenten Jar.
Last week, we were in a hurry to find something to do during our Middle School girls’ small group and half stumbled on this idea via Pinterest/ half made part of it up ourselves. The idea is that the jar is home to one challenge per day (so 40 if you were going to start at the beginning)- something simple that we could add to our daily routine in honor of Lent. This was a great activity for our girls’ small groups, but you could also do it with a whole youth group, your kids, or for yourself! I just had some of my college friends over for Girls’ Night and we had planned to each make one, but ran out of time. This project has no age limit!
Here are the things you will need:
- Jar (I found small Mason jars at the Dollar Tree. Later, while I was buying in bulk, I found a pack of 12 for $15 at Michael’s and with a 40% off coupon… well, you do the math. The point is: this project doesn’t have to break the bank!)
- Modge Podge (I use the Gloss, but any kind will work)
- Tissue Paper (also available at the Dollar Tree)
- Optional: Twine
- Notecards and Pens
Let’s get to it!
Step #1: Figure out your colors and start shredding! We had a huge pile of tissue paper to choose from and it was fun to see which colors everyone used! I decided to go for the monochrome look because I have future plans for the project after it serves its term as a Lenten Jar… more on that later.
Once you have your preferred colors chosen, start shredding the tissue paper into strips and from there, into squares.
Step #2: Go Modge Podge crazy! Give an area of the jar a layer, add some tissue paper, and follow it up with another coat of Modge Podge.
As you go, it will start to look something like this…
Step #3: Rinse and repeat. Just kidding about the rinse part! Don’t rinse. Please don’t rinse. What I mean is: repeat Step #2 over and over and over again. As you know, tissue paper is very thin, so it will take several coats on the whole jar to get it covered in color! I think there were probably at least three or four layers of tissue paper on any one part of my jar when it was finished. One of my favorite parts about this is that after it dries, the tissue paper on the glass looks very similar to a stained glass window!
Step #3.5: Add some twine. If you want. If you don’t want, call it a day and move on. If you’re going for it, it’s actually best to do this step after the jar is fully dry.
Step #4: Let dry and start brainstorming. We kept the jars upside down on paper plates overnight to let them dry sufficiently.
While you let them sit, start thinking about the challenges that you want to fill your jar with. It can be anything from praying before you start the day to smiling at a stranger. Here is a list of some of the things that we came up with:
- Pray for someone you don’t get along with.
- Let someone keep the change off a bill.
- Read the Easter story.
- Share the Easter story with someone.
- Offer to pray at dinner.
- Go out of your way for someone else.
- Pay someone a compliment.
I’m sure you could come up with a long list to work with! We cut note cards in half, long-ways and wrote one challenge on each.
Step #5: Fill the jar and start picking! Once you have them all written, fill the jar. Every day, pick one out of the jar and do that challenge. If you’re coming to the Lenten party late (like me!), you can still write 40 challenges and just double dip each day until you’re all caught up!
The great thing about this project is that it’s an easy way to remember to live a little more for Christ, and a little less for “me” during the Lenten season. It was a great conversation starter in our small groups, too!
Additional Bonus #1: The jars can be used for decoration after all is said and done! Additional Bonus #2: Gluing on layer after layer of tissue paper is strangely therapeutic. Additional Bonus #3: The total cost for the project comes out to about $2 each. Or maybe even less… the perfect solution if you are in need of a group activity. This is my kind of project!
I hope that this inspires you to think more deeply about the joy that is ahead as we celebrate how much God loves us and what He did to prove it. It’s never too late to join the journey of Lent, in my book. 🙂
Happy Crafting and Challenging!
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