Monday, February 11, 2013

Jelly Beans & Jesus

This is the first in a series of ideas for Lenten devotionals and activities.  Whatever you do (or don't do) during Lent, I pray your journey to the Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is filled with the love, peace, and amazing grace of God.

I firmly believe that if jelly beans were around in Jesus' time, he would have adored them.

"Let all the children come to me.  I've got jelly beans and love and hope!"

He would for sure have had a jelly bean parable or two.  "The kingdom of God is like a jelly bean, smaller than any other delectable treat, but full of juicy, colorful goodness that you can't even imagine until you bite into it..."

In the absence of any official words from Jesus about jelly beans, I'm filling in the blanks with inspiration from various sources around the Internet, all starting from the original Jelly Bean Prayer by Shirley Kozak.

So, without further ado, here's a post about putting some theology into the kiddos' Easter treats with just a few easy steps.  Print something here, grab some beans at the store, find some jars in the cupboard, and you are ready to roll.


Now, I'm all for a prayer and a fistful of jelly beans.  But I like to add an extra, devotional angle to this.  Here's how the jelly bean prayer works at our house.  (If you want to join in the fun, you can click on the card images to download and print them, assuming the technology works...)

We have a big ol' jar of beans decorated with the Jelly Bean Prayer.  On the back of the prayer card is a list of Jelly Bean Activities.

Each morning the kiddos read the prayer card aloud.  Then they each pick out a jelly bean from the jar and place it in their individual jars.  The color they picked determines the Lenten activity for the day.  (They work really hard to keep a balance of colors going.  It's one area of their lives where they practice fairness with admirable consistency!)


Then they look for opportunities to do their Lenten "assignment" during the day.  We usually report back during dinner or before bedtime prayers.  It makes for a great platform for discussion where we saw God in our day.  It's like a Lenten "show & tell."





And because I rarely do anything the same way twice, this year I'm adding a Bible verse component.  We read a verse that relates to the line of the prayer and/or the activity.  Nothing like filling them up with some verses to go with those candy beans.




Wait.

This IS all about candy, right? 

When do they eat the jelly beans?

I'm so glad you asked.  Because this is one of my favorite parts of this activity.

They don't eat the candy until... wait for it...

Easter morning.  It's a delicious practice in delayed gratification.  In seeing how their faith-filled actions pile up.  In witnessing how God fills them with love and grace. They are the empty jars.  And when they tune into God, he fills them with bright and juicy goodness.

Now, I sense you are shaking your head in disbelief.  "My kids will never, ever, not in a million years WAIT to eat those beans."  Did I read your mind?  No, I don't have ESP.  (I wish!!)  But I did think that very same thing when we started this at our house.  But those darling kiddos, they surprised me.  Even my sweet-stashing daughter didn't snatch an early jelly bean.  Not one.  She even counted them all at the end to make sure she didn't miss any days.

I chalk it up as one of God's modern day miracles.  That's the way God works in us and on us.  In our weakness his power is made perfect.  In our jelly beans he shows us his love.

Adapted from an earlier post: February 29, 2012



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