If you’re looking for an intentional and simple way to celebrate Lent as a family, then you are going to love using this Lent Paper Chain Scripture Countdown. The countdown begins on Ash Wednesday, journeys through Holy Week, and ends with the best news ever on Easter Sunday.
As a kid I remember making paper chain countdowns for just about everything. Even if I had nothing to count down to, there was something so satisfying about watching the paper chain grow as I was putting it together and then shrink as the links were torn off one by one. The apple must not fall far from the tree, because my girls are all about paper chain countdowns. In fact, I think it’s pretty safe to say that most kids love them. They are such a great visual for kids, which is why I wanted to create one to journey through Lent this year with our family.
If you’re looking for an intentional and simple way to celebrate Lent as a family, then you are going to love using this Lent Paper Chain Scripture Countdown. The countdown begins on Ash Wednesday, journeys through Holy Week, and ends with the best news ever on Easter Sunday
Growing up in a non-denominational church, Lent was something that I never really knew much about. Yet as I’ve grown older our family has found a deep appreciation and love for the richness of liturgy and the historic Church Calendar. The Church Calendar serves as a way to order our lives around Jesus. The rhythms and traditions help us remember who God is and what He has done.
“I realized that the Modern Church Calendar centers on what we are doing and invites God in while the Historic Church Calendar centers on what Christ has done and invites us to participate in His life, suffering, death, resurrection, and commission. One is about my activity, the other is about Christ’s; one is about the busyness of my pre-determined rhythms, the other is about interrupting my rhythms to bring my life into the cadence of Christ and His work.” — Glenn Packiam
So what exactly is lent?
Lent is a period of 40 days (plus 6 sabbath days) leading up to Easter. Lent refocuses our eyes and turns our desires toward Jesus. It prepares our hearts for the joy and hope of Easter.
Lent is an opportunity to examine our sinful nature and remember the depth of what Jesus really did for us on the cross. When we walk through Lent and see the (too many to count) ways that we fall short, the gravity of Jesus dying on the cross on our behalf is felt in a deep way and the victory of the resurrection becomes the best news ever. We don’t walk through the rhythms of Lent to earn our salvation or God’s approval. Rather, we walk through Lent to be reawakened to the incredible, radical, and undeserved love of Jesus.
Whether you observe Lent every year, are a complete newbie or somewhere in between and long to be more intentional about pointing your kids to Jesus this year, this paper chain countdown is for you. Each day as your family tears off a paper chain and reads the included scripture, you’ll remember the bleakness of our sin and the depth of what Jesus really did for us on the cross.
The paper chain is really simple to put together and your whole family can join in on the process of preparing for walking through Lent together. Ready to get started?
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cardstock (in the color of your choice—we used purple because it is a traditional lent color)
- Lent Paper Chain Countdown Printable PDF (To easily print and go, purchase HERE or to DIY you can cut out strips of paper and pick your own scriptures to write on each one)
How to Assemble the Lent Paper Chain Scripture Countdown (using the printable PDF found HERE)
Choose the color of cardstock that you want to use and print the paper chain printable pages onto the paper. You can print the ‘pause + reflect’ page on a different color of paper so you can visibly see which days are sabbath days.
Use scissors to cut around the gray boxes to create the strips of paper you’ll use for the paper chain. Put the strips of paper in order starting with ‘He is Risen’ and ending with 40. Be sure to add in the sabbath chain links if you want to include them.
Now it’s time to assemble your paper chain.
To make the first link staple the far ends together to form a ring.
Once you have one sturdy loop, thread another strip of paper through the center of the loop. Then join the ends together and staple them together to form a second ring.
Repeat this process until you have added all of the paper strips to the chain.
When you are finished, hang it up in your home where you will see it often.
How to use the Lent Paper Chain Countdown
Using the paper chain countdown is really simple which is why I love it! Each day you’ll tear off a chain, read the included scripture, and remember the depth of what Jesus really did for us on the cross. The passage listed is just a starting point. Feel free to read the verses before and after if you would like. After you are finished reading, take a moment to talk about what you just read and how it reveals our deep need for a Savior and the hope we have only because of Jesus.
Great tip from another mama in The Littles & Me community: “When your kids are removing the paper chain links you can talk about how Jesus came to break the chains of sin. As you rip off the chain each morning, praise Jesus for coming to rescue us!“
I love this idea and it reminds me of the victory proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
If you choose to use the Lent Paper Chain Countdown PDF, each of the paper chain links have a passage of scripture to read aloud. Since I believe that opening our physical Bibles with our kids is oh so important, I intentionally included just the passage so that you can dive into the living, breathing, and life-transforming Word of God together as a family.
It is my prayer that as your family walks through the lenten season, this countdown will serve as a tangible reminder to pause, reflect, and be reminded of our deep need for a Savior and the incredible hope we have because of Jesus. May we see that Jesus is better, so much better than everything else.
I’ll be sharing more intentional ideas for the Lenten season, Holy Week, and Easter in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out this blog post if you’re looking for wonderful family-friendly Easter resources.