Our Passion Cross

Many years ago (when perhaps this lady had extra time and motivation and "only" four kids) a friend and I painted Passion ornaments together. This is one of those things that I'm glad I did when I could because I can't see it happening in this season! This is certainly an "extra" that isn't necessary for Lent but one that I just use as I can to deepen their understanding, especially of the littler ones. Each ornament is meant to commemorate a different element of Christ's Passion, teaching them a bit more of The Story at a time. In a way, we thought of it as the Lenten equivalent of the Jesse Tree, though obviously much smaller in scope. With just store bought wooden discs and paint, we chose pieces of the story of Jesus' suffering to paint. While I love the Stations of the Cross and those would also be a beautiful idea to use, there are parts of the story not included in the Stations that we wanted to bring to these pieces.

There are dozens of variations that one could use for something along these lines but I chose to do fifteen pieces:

1. Palm :: Entrance into Jerusalem
2. Money Bag and Coins :: Judas' betrayal
3. Wash Basin and Towel :: The foot washing at the Last Supper
4. Chalice and Bread :: The first Eucharist at the Last Supper
5. Drops of Blood :: The Agony in the Garden
6. Rooster :: Peter's betrayal
7. Crown of Thorns :: Jesus is mocked
8. Whip :: The Scourging at the Pillar
9. Cross :: Jesus carries the Cross
10. Hammer and Nails :: Jesus is nailed to the Cross
11. Dice :: The soldiers strip Jesus and divide His garments
12. Torn Temple Veil :: Jesus dies on the Cross
13. Spear :: Jesus' side is pierced
14. Tomb :: Jesus is buried
15. Alleluia :: Jesus is risen!

For several years, I tried just putting all the ornaments up on the appropriate day of Holy Week. That was good in theory but ended up feeling too crammed, especially on Good Friday. I decided this year to try working the pieces all through Lent. So twice a week I've been grabbing a quick moment of time with the seven and three year olds and putting up the next ornament. It has been super simple and I literally only have them figure out what ornament goes next and we talk briefly about what it means. It's been beautiful to watch our sensitive three (almost four) year old learn and understand and seeing the seven year old grow confident in answering the questions I ask while I fill in any blanks. If one wanted, you could of course bring in actual Scriptures or use a book to go along with it. But for this year, at least, I'm just glad it's happening at all! There is something sweetly simple about just talking it through with them and helping them understand a little bit more about the very real and proven love of Jesus straight from the heart. We talk about what happened that the ornament is signifying, how sad it was that it happened, but always with the understanding of how much Jesus loves us and a reminder of the Resurrection coming.

When I first began doing it, we used a simple cross made of sticks and hung the ornaments on that but it always felt awkward. Last year, I had the boys cut me a length of wooden beam that we had salvaged from an old outbuilding on our property that had to be demolished years ago. I like that it bears resemblance to a cross beam and the ornaments hang along it. It would also be fitting to have something like these going along a mantel and (perhaps if they were a bit more beautiful...skilled artist I am not!) also make for appropriate Lenten decor.

So that's our little Passion cross tradition, nothing extravagant but a tiny part of our bigger family observance of Lent. I hope and pray that these little investments now will help draw my kids into the heart and Passion of our Lord and root them deep in His love forever.

(These photos were taken last Easter, obvs. ;)

1 comment

  1. Oh wow, I love this idea so much! Saving this article to revisit next year during Lent :)


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