Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Christian Celebration of Passover

Passover is one of our favorite dinners each year.  It is a way we extend the Easter season and bring meaning to a holiday often overshadowed by bunnies, eggs, and candy.  Passover is the oldest and most important of all the Jewish religious celebrations.  It commemorates God's deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and his creation of the Israelite people.  Early on, it marked the beginning of the Jewish year.  The story celebrated is found in Exodus Chapters 12 through 14.  We are not Jewish so we are not bound to a strict dietary code or Seder, though we try to keep it true to its intended form.  I found that the only way to keep it meaningful for our young family is to keep it tons shorter than traditional Seders.

I keep the decor simple.  Passover is a celebratory symbolic dinner where we celebrate our freedom.  For our family, the most important freedom we celebrate is our freedom from the bondage of sin and death through Jesus Christ.  Passover celebrates new life, a new life in Christ and new beginnings.  Spring flowers, grasses, eggs, and Easter type decor is appropriate for the Passover table.  With candlesticks for the ceremony, it is perfect!

Passover is preferably eaten seated on the floor around a low table to symbolize our freedom to recline and eat leisurely.  We always add cushions so our rear ends don't hurt and place the table next to a wall or surface Briz can lean against. 

The items neccasary for the Seder plate are:
  1. Boiled egg (I decorate them to help tell the story)
  2. Haroset (apples, nuts, and honey... I'll post a recipe)
  3. Lamb meat with a bone in it
  4. Parsley
  5. Salt Water
  6. Horseradish (or Mazta which I don't like as well)
  7. Unleavened bread 
The celebration dinner is a bit more flexible.  I've seen celebrations with:
lamb, chicken, or Gellite fish,  there is always a really green salad (sometimes with dandelion leaves or spinach included), sweet potatoes, and always Haroset. 

To complete preparations, I place leavened bread around the room in obvious places, then hide a piece of unleavened bread wrapped in a cloth.  Scriptures and hymnals are placed around the table for readers.  A basin of warm water and towels for each guest are set in the room as well. 

We're ready!

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