Welcome Risen Jesus:
Lent and Easter Reflections for Families
Sarah A. Reinhard
This is the third book by Sarah A. Reinhard that I have read and the second devotional. And I must say it is a little gem. Of the 6 devotionals I read this lent it was the only one that had daily readings for the octave of Easter. Both this and the companion volume Welcome Baby Jesus: Advent and Christmas Reflections for Families are amazing!
The more of Sarah's work I read the more impressed I become. To be honest the kids loved both of these books so much I wish she had a set of them for Ordinary time. The book is designed to help families prepare for Easter by focusing on the three pillars of Lent, prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Each day contains a scripture quote, a reflection, an action for others a suggested fast for the day and then a prayer. Because we read it in the evening the fast and action became a focus for the next day. This year my children were ages 9, 8, and 5 over Lent and all three of them loved this book. In fact there were a few nights where we had been out late and I wanted to double up the next day and they always clamoured to do the reading. To the extent that twice we read them from my phone in the car on the way home instead of the ipad before bed.
One of the greatest strengths of this book is that the devotions are easy enough for children to appreciate, reflect on, and apply and yet they are deep enough that in my mid-forties I found them very moving. Another example of the power in these devotions is a few times my children asked to go back and reread part or all of the reading from the night before so they could share how they applied it. Here is a sample devotion:
Third Week Of Lent
Think: The Samaritan woman couldn't believe Jesus was being kind to her. Not only was he a Jew, but she was probably an outcast, someone no one else liked.
Jesus' tells her that God loves her and that he has the authority to share that love with her. "If you knew who I was, you'd be asking ME for a drink." He uses the image of a drink to refer to the "living water" of his saving grace.
He could be saying that to any one of us. Imagine him standing in front of you, holding your face in his hands, and telling you what he tells the Samaritan woman.
We're told that when we do something kind to the least of those among us-especially the poor and the helpless-we do it to and for Jesus.
We often have an opportunity to be nice to people and to share God's love without saying a word. Within our own family, especially, it's easy to forget that truly loving another is important and takes constant work.
In our dealings with people other than our family, we should also be aware of how we can be more like Jesus. Is there someone with whom no one plays, a person who's mean to others or who seems lonely or sad? What might you do to extend a kindness to that person?
Act: Take a drink to someone today.
Fast: Instead of making a mess, clean one up.
Pray: Help me to show compassion and kindness to those around me today, Jesus.
Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
If you are looking for an amazing Lenten devotional for the whole family or children you love this is an excellent choice!
(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)
Books by Sarah A. Reinhard:
Welcome Baby Jesus
Welcome Risen Jesus
A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy
Catholic Family Fun
Word by Word
Do I Really Have to Give Something Up for Lent?
Author Profile and interview with Sarah A. Reinhard