So many changes occur when we enter into the season of Lent, one of those being how we decorate. Lenten decor in churches and homes is characterized by its simplicity and austerity, reflecting the solemn and introspective nature of the season. Churches and homes often use purple drapery, the liturgical color of Lent, to signify penitence and mourning. This decor serves as a visual reminder of the season's purpose: to prepare our hearts for the commemoration of Jesus Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.
Additionally, the tradition of veiling crosses and icons with purple cloths during Lent further captures the Lenten spirit of somberness and sorrow. The tradition of veiling crosses during Lent is steeped in symbolism and reverence. Covering crosses in the church or home with a cloth is a visual reminder of the season's penitential and reflective nature. By covering the crosses, we are reminded of the stark reality of Jesus’ death and the somber nature of the events leading up to it. It underscores the gravity of Christ's sacrifice while heightening the sense of expectancy for the unveiling and celebration of the resurrection.
Moreover, the veiling serves as a visual metaphor for the spiritual blindness and hardness of our hearts that keeps us from fully grasping the significance of Christ's sacrifice. This act encourages self-examination and repentance, inviting us to consider how we may have turned away from God.
This act of veiling not only deepens the sense of mystery and solemnity but also heightens the anticipation for the unveiling and celebration come Easter. The progression from the bare and somber Lenten decor to the vibrant and joyful decorations of Easter visually and symbolically represents the journey from the contemplation of Christ's passion and death to the celebration of his resurrection. Then, the unveiling of these crosses on Easter Day becomes a powerful symbol of new life and the resurrection, marking the end of the Lenten journey and the beginning of renewed spiritual vision in the light of Christ’s victory over death.
This Lent, let's transform our homes into a place of reflection and set the scene for a journey—a very special one that leads us through the wilderness for 40 days to Easter's joy.
Before bed on Shrove Tuesday or the day of Ash Wednesday, go around the house and cover any crosses or icons with purple fabric. Any purple fabric will do - thrift store tablecloths or napkins, sheets that you cut up, or napkins or fabric that you bought at a store.
I have often used napkins. They are inexpensive and hemmed and I reuse them year after year that initial purchase.
Simple drape fabric over your icons. With my crosses, I covered them with fabric and then tied them beneath the "T" with another napkin or strip of fabric.
This is a great visual reminder throughout our homes of the season that we are walking in. Every time we see those covered crosses or icons, we are reminded of the sacrifice Jesus made to redeem us and his great love for us.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Here's a round-up of some pretty purple cloth napkins. Click on the image for the link.