My husband, Philip, and I are looking for unique ways to dive into Lent as a family and as a couple this year.  We came up with an idea that we think will prove to be challenging but very worthwhile: a weekly fast from electricity.


Life is so busy that we need time to just be.  In a lot of ways, electricity stops us from being together.

With the ability to keep the lights on at night, we keep on going as we do during the daylight hours--staring at the computer (or another screen), doing housework, checking something else off the to-do list, or leaving to run errands.

Electricity has, in a way, made us slaves to our work.  Instead of ending our work day when the sun goes down, we keep going without giving it a second thought.  Philip and I decided our family will spend one night each week without using electricity in our house during Lent.  Sitting around the Advent wreath to sing and pray is always our favorite Advent tradition.  Why not carry that over to Lent?

Mesmerized by the candlelight.  By Catherine Boucher.  All Rights Reserved. Mesmerized by the candlelight

What will it look like?

At our weekly family meeting, we will select which night of the week we won't be using electricity.  That night, we will stop using anything run by electricity from the time dinner is served until we go to bed.  It sounds like a trivial change until we think about what that will look like:

  • No lights (only candlelight)
  • No appliances (dishwasher, clothes washer/dryer)
  • No music
  • No television
  • No phone
  • No computer (or other screens)

If we were going all out on this challenge, we'd turn off the heat, but I think we'll leave it on to keep the kiddos warm!

Without electricity, what will we gain?

Time Management:  We'll be more motivated to get things done earlier in the day when we know the lights (and appliances and screens) go out when the sun goes down.

Closeness:  The little ones will stay near without the ability to turn on the lights in other rooms, and we envision everyone staying in the family room until bedtime

Rest:  Without the distractions or temptation to stay up doing, doing, doing, we'll probably go to bed earlier, and the kids will be more inclined to go to sleep, too.

Leisure:  There's something special about being together in the candlelight as a family.  We'll probably do the things we don't do as often as we should--play board games, have a family concert around the piano, read a chapter book aloud, sing songs from summer camp, play shadow puppets, cuddle in our jammies.  After the kids go to bed, Philip and I will have time to just be.  We can cuddle up by the fireplace, read, or talk over a glass of wine.

Intimacy:  As Philip said when I proposed this challenge, "I'm sure we'll find something to do!"

Questions for you:

What do you think of this challenge?  Would it be difficult for you to be without electricity after the sun goes down?  What would you do with your evening without electricity?

Copyright 2015 Catherine Boucher

Image by Catherine Boucher.  All rights reserved.