This year, Passover begins at sunset April 6. While growing up, this meant nothing to me, but now it is a meaningful part of our lives. For the past four years we have celebrated Passover in our home with friends. I’m sure we do not do it perfectly, and every year we do it a little bit differently. There is no sense of obligation to keep it–God told the Jewish people it was to be celebrated yearly, forever, but we are not Jewish. However, Jesus celebrated Passover–the first Lord’s Supper was at a Passover meal, and we do want to be more like Jesus, and so we celebrate too–to remember.
I personally find this all fascinating. You can go out and look at the full moon on April 6 and know on that very night, God delivered the Jews from Egypt during the first Passover, and on that very night, 1500 years later, Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples, was betrayed in the garden of Gethsemane and crucified the next day. It gives weight to the night. We aren’t guessing when all this happened, we know, because God is the keeper of the clock, who knows the end from the beginning, and told us in His Word. Here is a short article from 2009 about the significance of Passover by Don Finto, our Pastor Emeritus.
There are many excellent resources to use in planning your own Passover Seder. Here is a link to a website by a Messianic rabbi, Derek Leman. It looks like it has some great resources.
Two books I especially like. The first book is A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson. This book talks about all the Jewish holidays, scriptural references, how they were celebrated by the ancient Jews, the modern Jews and how we can celebrated them today as believers in Jesus. It explains the symbolism of the different parts of the meal, and also help you see how Jesus’s life and death mirror the passover ritual in the last week of His life. It is very interesting to read. She includes a haggadah, a little book to print out that you can use during the passover meal, recipes and crafts. Some of our children are pretty young, so I highlight the parts we do and skip some that seem to make it very long.
Another book I like is Celebrate! Stories of the Jewish Holidays by Gilda Berger. It is shorter but still includes recipes and crafts but does not include a haggadah. Here is a very simple plan our pastor of discipleship puts on our church blog. On the back is a very meaningful reading we use for the end of our Passover evening. After we eat, we go outside and look at the moon and read Passover…On This Night…On this Day…Today (included in the article by Don Finto and the plan from our church) by the light of the full moon–the same moon the children of Israel saw when they left Egypt and the same moon Jesus and His disciples saw as they walked to the Garden of Gethsemane after their Passover meal.
The more you get the children involved with the planning, decorating, and meal, the more they will enjoy it. If you read the Biblical account, God tells the Israelites to involve the children in the celebration–they were certainly present at the first passover and all others, as God tells them to have the children ask questions. Most children I know are naturals when it comes to asking questions–so I love that God used the inquisitive nature He gave them as part of the meal!