Celebrating a Christian Passover Seder

One of Pete and I's spiritual goals for our family this year is to celebrate the major feasts of the Old Testament.  We'd love your family to join us.  Before each feast I will be posting some "how to" info as well as some information on the feast in the context of the Christian life.  If you would like to study this more in depth I recommend the study Feast: Finding your place at the seat of Tradition by Derek Leman.  

Passover is a time commanded by God to remember His work in bringing His people out of slavery in Egypt.  A time to remember how God heard his people's suffering, and made a path to save them from slavery and set them apart as His own people.  The Seder is a meal during Passover at which the story of the Exodus is retold, fulfilling God's instruction to remember and tell the next generation of His saving work.  But the Passover Seder is not just about God saving His people from Egypt, it carried a promise of a time that the Messiah would come and complete God's promise to save His people from their slavery to sin and death.

What Christian's call the Last Supper, was the Passover Seder that Jesus shared with his disciples.  He used the elements of the wine and bread, that generations had shared at Passover, to teach his disciples that his blood and body would be given as a sacrifice for our salvation.  It was during the Seder that we received The Lord's Supper, or Communion.

Pretty awesome huh?  Celebrating the Passover Seder with our girls last year was on of the most significant spiritual experiences we have had as a family.  And I can't wait to do it again this year!  Since Jesus celebrated the Seder with His disciples the night before His death, our family holds our Seder on the Thursday before Easter.  If this night does not work for you, I encourage you to pick any night between now and Easter.  We are not trying to follow a strict law, or create new laws here, we are trying to remember, and teach our children, God's great work in our lives, so any night will do.

How do you have a Seder?  Seder's include two main components; a ceremonial meal and a regular meal.  The ceremonial meal is done first and follows a Haggadah (which means "telling").  There are a wide variety of Haggadah out there that you can purchase.  It is important to use one that is from a Christian perspective as it will tie in how Jesus was the Messiah.  We use my friend Cindy Finley's, which you can find here with a complete shopping list and instructions.  Thank you Cindy!

A Haggadah is basically a script that each part of your family will take part in reading.  I copied Cindy's into Microsoft Word and put each family member's name in the parts so we all knew what to read.  We printed a copy for each person and put it at their plate.

You will also need a Seder plate.  Here is a great explanation of what goes into that.  I got really stuck last year on not having a "proper" Seder plate with cute little areas to put the elements into.  But I found something that worked great.  I bet you have something too - a big plate will do.  Through the Seder plate your family will taste and smell their way through the story of the Exodus.  Each element has significance that will help your children remember elements of the story. My girls are still talking about how we took WAY too big of a bite of horseradish last year and literally all wept at the table!

After the ceremonial part of the Seder you will need a real dinner.  This is the feast piece.  I had no idea how long the first part would take us, and did not want to stress about dinner burning up in the kitchen, so last year I served pot roast with potatoes and vegetables that I did in the Crock Pot and a green salad.  I think that is as unPassover as you can get, but it worked great for me as dinner was hot and not burned when we were ready for it.

We chose to make the night "fancy" as my youngest called it.  We decorated the table with palm branches and flowers from our yard.  Fancy makes my girls and I happy, if it doesn't make you happy go with paper plates and sit around the coffee table, it really doesn't matter.  

It took me three years to work up the courage to actually have a Seder.  I worried about doing "it wrong."  I worried that it was too weird.  I worried that the kids and Pete would find it boring and hate it.  If you feel a stirring in your heart to incorporate a Seder into your family's Easter celebrations let me just encourage you to go for it!  You can't do it "wrong,"  maybe your kids will be bored, but make it fun, and make food they enjoy for the feast and chances are they won't.  If your family schedule is like ours, a lingered family dinner in the midst of our crazy lives is a win in itself.  I pray this experience will deepen your understanding and awe of Easter and all Jesus did to be our final sacrifice, to fulfill the Passover, and to be our way out of the slavery of sin and death for all eternity.  

Let it Go: MidLifeJoy Challege #2

Sing along with me mommas, "Let it go! Let it go!"   You know you want to!  Okay maybe you actually don't want to let it go, and that's the reason for this month's MidLifeJoy Challenge.  What is the "it" I am referring to?  This month's challenge is to let go of the things the Lord has not given you influence over.  One of life's greatest joy stealers is when we put our emotional energy into trying to influence people, and or, situations that the Lord has not given us influence over.   I like the way my boss Jeremy puts it, he says,  "Play in your own sandbox."  By that he means, do the job you have been given to do, and don't go getting all involved in someone else's job.  It's a great analogy, isn't it. So many times we act like perpetual children wishing for the toys in someone else's sandbox, ignoring, or being dissatisfied with all the toys we already have.  

This is the sandbox the Lord has given me in this season of my life.

  • I am Sarah and Emily's mom
  • I oversee our church's family ministries 
  • I am solely responsible for The Celebrated Family ministry
  • I run my own Young Living business 
That's it folks, and frankly it's plenty!  Even though there is plenty to do in my sandbox, my natural inclination is to try to look at what is going on in everyone else's sandboxes too.  I can so easily get all emotionally involved in situations I have been given no control over. 
  • That decision at my girl's school that I don't agree with. 
  • The neighbor who parks 3 cars on the street every day. 
  • The co-worker who could do his job so much better if he just did it my way. 
I can expend all sorts of energy on things that I have zero control over.  Zero.  I can't fix any of these situations because the Lord has not given me influence to speak into them in a way that will effect change. 
  • I have no voice at my girl's school
  • The neighbor is breaking no HOA or city rules.
  • The co-worker is a peer not a employee. 
I can make one of two choices.  I can waste my energy on situations I can not effect, or I can Let It Go, and put all that energy and time into making sure I am the best possible steward of what the Lord has given me influence over.   The Lord will never expand our influence just because we try to wrestle it into our hands through our own efforts.  Jesus clearly taught that those who are good stewards of what the Lord has given them will be given more to steward over. (Matthew 25: 14-30) Jesus also showed the disappoint He feels when we fuss and worry about things that are not that important. (Luke 10:38-42)  Oh Martha, just let it go!

This month's challenge is to prayerfully ask God to show you where you need to let go.  What areas of your life, that you do not have influence over, are you allowing to suck your energy, passion, mental space, and time away from what God HAS given you influence over. If we waste our limited resources of time and energy fussing about someone else's sandbox, what will we have left to take care of our own?  We won't have enough, and that starts a vicious cycle of of dissatisfaction, helplessness, anger, overwhelmedness (pretend that's a word), and exhaustion.  A cycle that is the very opposite of living a life of JOY! 

Sarah made this image - isn't is great!
One practical way I have implemented this is at my girl's school.  I have spent years being dissatisfied with my girl's school.  There is a lot I would like to change, but nobody is frankly interested in hearing or implementing any of my ideas.  Last spring Pete issued me a "pee or get off the pot" ultimatum.  Either find a better school, or stop complaining.  I took the later, because there are no perfect schools.  This year I have taken a "year of silence" from the school.  I don't attend meetings.  I don't get upset about things I'd like to change.  I just LET IT GO!  Instead I have focused my energy on letting my girl's teachers and coaches know I appreciate them - which I really do!  I have had a great year! The one time I allowed myself to be talked into breaking my year of silence, no good came from my input, and I was hurt in the process.  Just another reminder from God to me - to LET IT GO- and to focus my energy and time on things He has asked me to influence.  

I still have a long way to go on this challenge.  The Lord seems to weekly point out situations that I need to let go. What areas of your life is God calling you to let go?  I would love to be praying for you.  


Be Box Family Devotions

For seven years I have dreamed of a little craft Family Devotions Fairy who will arrive at my house with an appropriate bible verse,  craft project (with necessary glitter), and will whip my kids into a frenzy of excitement about doing said family devotion.   It's a lovely dream isn't it?  Because we all know that our intentions for family devotions exceed our reality, and when our creativity does get cranking we inevitably get half way through a crafty devotion only to realize that we are missing some essential item - and the whole thing ends in tears.

Guess what arrived at our house earlier this month?    A box from the Family Devotion Fairies! 

 (Insert the Hallelujah Chorus)

This month we were blessed with a # Be Box from Be: Kids Mobile, a new monthly family devotion and craft subscription.  Let me tell you I haven't been as excited for a family faith product since The Jesus Storybook Bible came out.  (If you know me or have ever heard me speak you know that I'm excited!) Better than little fairies, this awesome concept comes from a team of three moms - whose vision is to help equip parents to live on mission, invade communities with love, and make a generational change in society.  Pretty awesome vision huh?   And God bless them  - since they are moms -  they know well enough to put everything you are going to need in that box! 

So's what's in the box?  Awesomeness! 

Everything you need for a month of intentional family discipleship.  And I mean everything!  Each month has a theme.  This month is Be Courageous! Our box includes a variety of activities including a matching game, a helmet craft, blow up swords (how cool!), and cups.  What do we do with all this? 

In a parent envelope there is a sheet for each week.  Each day you are given four touching points including awesome lunch box notes.  Each day has a scripture to read, and conversation starters. Each week uses one of the activities in the box as an application activity.   It is incredible.

If your intentions for family devotions have been greater than your reality of implementing them, I would encourage you to order a Be Box.  They are $25 or $30 a month depending on how many kids you have.  (you didn't think they would only send you one sword for your three kids did you?)  You need to order by the 20th of each month to receive the following month's box.

I'd love to have your family join us in April.  If you are a grandparent this would be a wonderful way to bless your children and grandchildren and encourage a legacy of faith to be passed down.