The season of spring is my most favorite time of the year. I eagerly await the warm sunshine, the longer days, the renewing of life and the celebrations that take place during these months following winter. My favorite celebration is the celebration of Easter, the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
When my children were smaller I battled within myself over the decision to do Easter baskets or not. I didn’t want the expectation of baskets of goodies, colored eggs and candy to overshadow the true meaning of Easter. I felt the same way about Christmas mind you so we began to celebrate the Advent season. But Easter was more difficult to tame. Growing up Southern Baptist, I had never heard of lent. In fact, it wasn’t until my adult years that I began to hear about and see people giving up “indulgences” for the 40 days before Easter Sunday.
It has taken some time and thought but I believe that we as a family have finally built some Easter traditions that tether our hearts and minds to the cross and the empty tomb during this season of the earth’s awakening from its winter slumber. I do indeed give them Easter baskets that they look forward to. We do hide and hunt Easter eggs with friends and family. But I can honestly say the thing they look forward to the most is celebrating the passover with our very own Seder.
My husband and I attended a Seder about 11 years ago for adults only. Three years ago, the children and I attended a kid friendly seder in our local botanical gardens. And last year I finally had the nerve the to take on the task of doing one here at home. It was a lot easier than I thought and it was so much fun! We laughed and enjoyed each other so much as we “ate through the gospel”.
I set our table with my fanciest table cloth (my sister-in-law brought back back for me from the middle east) and our nice (although not fanciest) dishes. I have a pitcher of water and a bowl for the ceremonial hand washings. And of course we had our Seder platter with the symbolic components.
Let me give you a disclaimer. We are not Jewish. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and that the Old Testament of the Bible points to His coming. In the comments on a previous post of mine you can see that not everyone agrees with our interpretation of the Jewish ceremonies. You may not agree with it either. I’m totally fine with that. I’m simply sharing how my family celebrates this ancient Jewish festival.
Oh…here’s another disclaimer. Because we aren’t Jewish, we don’t follow ALL of the “rules” exactly. We make it work for us. So here’s how we did it.
You will need:
2 white candles
place settings for all attendees
cups for everyone (my babes loved drinking out of the goblets)
a cup for Elijah
grape juice or wine
bowl and pitcher for hand washing along with a towel
Charoseth (This is a sweet mixture of apples, nuts, sugar, cinnamon and grape juice or wine. I’ll post a recipe at the end of this post)
a yummy meal for everyone
For the seder platter you will need:
a platter (I purchased a round silver platter from the Dollar Tree)
small bowl or cup of salt water
3 pieces of unleavened bread (Matzo is available at your local grocery store. We have many allergies so we’ll be using allergy free pancakes. Tortillas or pita bread works great too)
horseradish (we use mustard here due to allergies)
an egg (I use a decorative one like this)
a lamb bone
Last year I put together a very simple order, or Haggadah, for the meal. This year I have one printed out that we will all use. You can print yours here. This one is from Martha Zimmerman’s book entitled Celebrating Biblical Feasts and it leads you through the entire ceremony step by step. All the hard work is done for you and you simply gather the supplies. If it looks a little lengthy for your crew simply adjust it to work for you. It’s no big deal. No high priest is going to be in attendance judging your ceremonial cleanliness. The symbolism throughout the ceremony stirs my heart to thankfulness and plants seeds of faith in the hearts of my little ones.
My children loved hunting for the Afikoman. This is one of the three pieces of flat bread. It represents Jesus’s body in the tomb and is hidden during the meal. I have three young ones so I broke the bread into three pieces and hid them. At the end of the meal they look for the pieces, we eat them and they get a small prize.
They also enjoyed checking the front door to see if Elijah had arrived. Daddy secretly disappeared and rang the front doorbell. He was back with us before they realized he was gone. It unnerved them a bit to be looking for a dead person whom they presumed had rung the doorbell on the front porch. We still laugh as we remember this.
The actual dates for Passover change every year. It begins the Monday after Palm Sunday. Last year we did our Passover meal on Good Friday. This year we’ll be doing it on the actual date, Monday, April 14. I hope you’ll celebrate the Passover this year with your family and friends!! One thing I took away from our trip to Disney is that we don’t celebrate enough has believers. Christ has overcome this world and this life. We have been covered with the Lamb’s blood so that eternal death must passover us. THAT is something to celebrate.
Recipe for Charoseth taken from Celebrating Biblical Feasts:
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 c walnuts, almonds or pecans, finely chopped (we omit these)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. red wine or grape juice
Mix together the apple, nuts, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the liquid and mix thoroughly. Allow 1 tbsp. per serving. You don’t need very much.