We aren’t Jewish.
But we did celebrate Passover this year.
I’ve always been interested in Jewish festivals and how, for Christians, the New Testament fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament. A few weeks ago I went to a class about the seven major feasts of ancient Israel. Does it sound dry and boring? Well, it wasn’t – it was fascinating!
We learned some ways to incorporate parts of these ancient feasts at home – I was super excited to try the bits and pieces that would work for our family. It just so happened that this particular Passover was on the same night as the Blood Moon. Since it was also the first time we’d ever done anything like this at home, the whole idea seemed very special.
As we got all of the food together (traditionally, every part of the meal has its own symbolic meaning) and spread a special tablecloth on the table, there was a definite air of excitement in our house. We read the story in Exodus – it says that “you should eat with your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste.” We all felt like we should be in a hurry!
And hurry we did.
Sadie, 10, pulled down all the shades (because we weren’t supposed to look out the window), turned off all the lights, and lit lots of candles.
Josie, who is 8, said she had goose-bumps on her arms and butterflies in her tummy. She collected robes and “staffs” for everyone (since we had a shortage of staffs, we ended up using our marshmallow-roasting sticks from the firepit.)
Adelaide, my 5-year-old, painted a picture for decoration. She also ran around and set the table with real plates and silverware.
Then the girls and their 3-year-old brother, Jed, tried to sweep out every single bit of dirt from the kitchen floor. “This is impossible!” one of them said. “Exactly!” I told them, and then we talked about how the bad things in our lives can be like dirt. We can try and try to get rid of it all, but it’s just impossible. That’s why we need a savior. Sigh. I love when things come together like that.
Each child chose three favorite things that they would take with them if they had to leave home in a hurry – stuff they couldn’t bear to leave behind in “Egypt.”
Sadie chose her Snoopy, her favorite book – The Penderwicks, and her old, falling-apart quilt. Josie brought her Bear-Bear, her Wolfie, and her stuffed pink lamb. She used her Crunchy Blanket as a belt for her robe so she was able to sneak in a freebie. Adelaide chose two little stuffed doggies and a little red and white bear that Sadie gave her. Jed brought his stuffed Dino, his Mousie, and his fuzzy blanket.
If I were going to choose, I would need a wheelbarrow so I could take all of my scrapbooks with me.
Finally, the meal was ready (and no, I didn’t try to make lamb on my own – I bought gyro meat – this IS my first year, after all!). I did try to stick with what it says in Exodus, though, so we had lamb, horseradish, green onions (bitter herbs), and unleavened bread. We also had other “Bible foods” like olives, dried fruit, and almonds.
Their dad said a prayer and symbolically “killed” our butter sheep (by chopping its head off with a butter knife) and then we put red crepe paper around our doorframe outside. I know, I know… our neighbors are gonna think we are so weird!) Then we talked some more about the story of Passover – the wicked Pharoah, the horrible plagues, the sorrow of slavery – and the joy of freedom.
To top off the night, the kids watched the movie The Prince of Egypt.
The kids liked the lamb okay – they liked the unleavened bread better, though. And they loved the movie.
And me? Well, what I liked best was bringing the meaning of the Easter season a lot closer to home.