I love Easter, and I am constantly searching for ways to make this special holiday even more special for my own little family. As I read other blogs, I saw many Christians who were partaking in the Jewish Passover, which begins at sundown on April 14th and kicks off the week of Unleavened Bread. So I did some research, made some adjustments for my own family, and decided to try making this a part of our family’s tradition. Please understand that there were many discrepancies in our Passover Feast, as we are not Jewish and were only searching for a way to learn more about this wonderful Jewish tradition.
We believe that tradition can be a wonderful thing, but the need to follow after tradition was washed away in the blood of the perfect Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ. When He gave His life for us, He took away the imperfect traditions of man and replaced it with His perfect sacrifice and victory over sin. Our salvation is not based on how well we follow after tradition but is based on how we allow Christ to have our hearts. Any traditions we may follow are simply to serve as a reminder of our past and to help us rejoice in His perfect love.
I can become quite obsessed with trying to accomplish too much when I decide to undertake something, so I had to scale some things back for our family (especially since we were also housesitting for my parents). One of the first things I read to do was to use this as a time of spring cleaning, so I set to work cleaning my house from top to bottom before we left for my parents’, and I had my daughter spring clean her playhouse while my son did a pretty lousy, typical-three-year-old cleaning of the yard. In everything I read, this cleaning time is also a time to remove all of the leaven from your pantry and refrigerator. But we are on an extremely tight budget, and we just cannot afford to throw away any food right now (although we have agreed to not eat any leaven until Easter).
There was a lot of preparation beforehand. There were candles set out in front of my place for me to light as I said the first blessing. In front of my husband was set a small pitcher of water, a bowl, and a hand towel for the ceremonial washing of hands. I regret that I forgot to cover my head with a white cloth, as is the tradition for the mother.
In the center of our table was the Seder plate with the ceremonial foods arranged on it. The parsley (karpas) is dipped in a bowl of salt water and represents spring. The horseradish (maror) represents the bitterness of the enslavement of the Jewish people in Egypt. The green onion (chazeret) is a bitter vegetable that also represents the enslavement. The roasted, hard-boiled egg (baytza) represents the festival offering during the time of the Temple and also represents spring and renewal. The apple-nut mixture (charoset) represents the mortar that the Jews used when building. And finally, the lamb shankbone (zeroa) represents the lamb that was slain as a sacrifice to protect the Jewish people from the angel of death, who killed the firstborn son in every home that did not have the lamb’s blood smeared on its doorframe. It also brings to mind “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).
There were three large matzoh balls wrapped in linen napkins right near my husband’s plate. There was also a pitcher of sparkling red grape juice (meant to represent the wine) that was set at my husband’s place as well. The matzohs and grape juice were all a part of the ceremony.
We followed the ceremony that was available at www.freerepublic.com. This site gave us a complete breakdown of what was to be said and what was supposed to happen at certain points of the evening. Our children re-learned the story of the Jewish people’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. They drank the Cup of Hagadah as they heard from Exodus 13. They saw the lamb shank that represented the sacrifice that was made to save the people from death.
My three-year-old son, as the youngest member of our family who can talk, asked the four questions of Passover and heard his father answer him from the Bible. We spoke the Hallel Psalm (Ps. 113) together as a thanksgiving for deliverance out of Egypt. The children ate matzoh balls and were amazed to hear how God planned a way for the children of Israel to be able to leave quickly.
Then we shared the Paschal supper together. My family agreed to at least try a bite of everything I had made. We enjoyed roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, seasoned rice, matzoh balls, matzoh ball soup, fresh green beans, charoset, hard-boiled eggs, and ratatouille. They liked most of it, and they even tried the bitter herbs on their plates!
We did have an extra plate set for the prophet Elijah. Apparently, this is meant to remind us to keep watch because in the end times, Elijah will return to share the Gospel with those who have been left behind. There will be some people who will endure the Tribulation but who will receive God’s Word and be saved from the ultimate punishment of death. I really enjoyed this reminder of being watchful as our Ladies Bible Study has been studying Mark, and one of Jesus’ constant admonitions is to always be watching, lest we enter into temptation.
After the meal, my husband took the last matzoh ball, broke it, and distributed it around the table just as Jesus blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, say, “This is my body, which is broken for you” (Lk. 22:19). We reminded our children that the bread is just a symbol of Jesus’ broken body and is to remind us of His sacrificial death on the cross.
Then we drank the Cup of Blessing, which reminded us of the blood Christ shed for us. And the final cup is the Cup of Melchisedek, who represented the Old Testament “type” of Christ in the eternal priesthood.
I think that overall, my ADHD children did really well in participating in the ceremony. I had them color pictures of Passover beforehand, and we talked about Passover in our Bible lesson at school that morning. I reminded them of the enslavement of the Jews and the terrible 10 plagues that were unleashed on the Egyptians because their pharaoh refused to give the Israelites their freedom. And then we talked about the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for all our sin.
My husband and I learned a lot about this wonderful Jewish feast, and we felt like it was a great way to kick off Easter week, focusing our children’s eyes on the Lamb who was slain for us. Without His sacrifice, we are destined for hell and a horrific punishment that we deserve. But because of His love, we are mercifully saved through faith in Him because unlike the Passover lamb, Christ did not stay dead but rose from the grave to conquer sin’s grip on us!
Please, if you do not know about the greatest sacrifice that was made for you, feel free to contact me. I would love to introduce you to my Savior.
P.S. If your family celebrates Passover, feel free to send me your link. I would love to see what other people are doing!
To read more about Passover, study Exodus 12 and 13. And take some time reading Ps. 113 in thanksgiving.