This is what Easter usually looks like in our house. We dye eggs (our five kids each dye at least a dozen, which means, well, you can do the math). I fill baskets, usually last minute (as in the night before Easter). I make food. I exert way too much effort to find matching clothing for the seven of us. We eat candy. We go on egg hunts. We talk about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. I try to make sure said matching outfits stay clean for the duration of a two-hour church service—which is a feat with five kids. I scramble to take a picture documenting that we actually wore the matching clothes. We have a family dinner with my entire family. We have another family dinner with my husband’s entire family. I try to stay sane. When Sunday night rolls around, when it’s all over, this mama usually feels done. I’ve also felt a little bit like, “That’s it? Easter is over?” Discussing its meaning had been just shoved in there, in the middle of all the other stuff, and a time that should have been really special and sacred just felt tired and washed out.
I am a firm believer that God knows what we need before we do, and He knows the best ways to bring us there. He knew that I needed a fresh way to look at Easter and to give my family a new way to celebrate—which has really existed all along, but I hadn’t paid much attention. God opened my eyes to the significance of taking part in Passover. Of me taking part in Passover, I should say. It’s not that I ever felt opposed to learning about it, it’s just that I was kind of ignorant. I figured that Passover was really for Jewish people or for Messianic Jews—but not for me, as I don’t fit into either of those categories. I didn’t realize what a great tool it is, as a tangible way to teach my children the continuity of scripture. Scripture is not a collection of “old” and “new” stories; it is an account of God’s great, continuous love story to humanity, told across the ages. It has always been about the love of God, His pursuit of us, and His power over the enemy—albeit an actual Pharaoh or devices of the enemy that try to pharaoh over our lives today.
For me, this journey began last year—right around Eastertime— with a great urgency to learn about Passover and teach it to my children. The timing made sense, as the Christian Easter holiday and Jewish Passover fall very close to each other. Additionally, the language which describes these holidays has a deep connectedness.1 “English and German are in the minority of languages that use a form of the word Easter…to mark the holiday. Elsewhere, the observance is framed in Latin pascha, which in turn is derived from the Hebrew pesach, meaning of or associated with Passover.”2
This year, in the weeks leading up to Passover, my husband felt led to read the book of Exodus to us, as a family. I also sensed in my spirit a longing to bring the Passover feast into our home—as best as I could. Traditionally, “a Jewish home or community service including a ceremonial dinner in commemoration of the exodus from Egypt” is held on the first (or first and second) night(s) of Passover.3 This tradition is called a seder. I found a great seder-for-kids script from Jennifer Dukes Lee entitled, “A Messianic Passover Seder for Families with Children.”4 This script offers a kid-friendly explanation as to why we, as Christians, are able to join in this celebration. Simply put, it is a way to both remember God’s promises and take part in something that Jesus himself practiced.
Before our dinner, the children painted a wooden board using fake hyssop leaves dipped in red paint, to signify the Israelites putting the lamb’s blood on the doorposts and lentels of their houses to protect the first born of each house from death. We talked about how this occurrence foreshadowed what Jesus—the Lamb of God—would do; shed His blood to save us from death. As we approached our table, set with my best (and only) table cloth and fancy wine glasses, my seven year old daughter said, “This looks so pretty!” My nine year old daughter bounced back, “You never decorate like this for other parties.” And that’s when it struck me. No, we don’t usually get fancy—especially around food. (Let’s be real, I have five kids.) But we did get fancy that night, and it was special. And they will remember that.
After our meal, I looked at the white table cloth spread out with the evening’s feast—bits of roasted lamb and matzo crumbs, a bowl of charoset , drips of grape juice on the white table cloth, remnants of parsley and the scent of horseradish. I sat, observed, and took it all in, reflecting on the deliverance of God’s people from Egypt and on my own deliverance from the things that enslave me. I sensed such a great peace within my spirit that night, and such a sense of freedom within, it was as if I could have been swept up to heaven in that very moment. We had shared something important as a family that night as we partook in one of the Lord’s Feasts. We celebrated with Him. And that was what just what I needed, a celebration to remind me of His great love, that goes far beyond painted eggs, jelly beans, and the seven of us wearing matching outfits. His presence is so real, so tangible—sometimes I just need a gentle reminder to get caught up in it.
The remainder of the weekend was filled with the normal hustle and bustle that I’ve grown accustomed to, but I didn’t feel the stress, the weight. It felt peaceful and light inside, as my heart was in the right place—it was with Him. For that, I am truly thankful. I trust that the Lord will direct you in your walk to come closer to Him, in a way that will best minister to your heart, in a way that will overtake you. Let Him continue to pursue you and unfold His great love story in your life. He truly is faithful.
Every January the advertisements, discussions, and even news
reports speak of New Year’s resolutions.
While I don’t ascribe to choosing something new every year, I do think
every day is a new opportunity to resolve to be a better version of
ourselves. What I choose each day will
reveal my character, and there is no better time to improve on character than
the present. There is something exciting
about the new year though. It could just
be the relief the holiday season and all the extra brouhahas are over, but I
think it has more to do with hopeful expectation for the year ahead. It is also a time to look back on the year
and take inventory of all that happened.
It is the idea of inventory I have been meditating on the
past few weeks. I had gone to the store
and bought a bottle of sparkling water. Living
in a small apartment, space is limited, so I put it next to the front door
while I finished the open bottle. The
next time I went to the store, I bought another bottle, while putting that one
away, I saw the first bottle next to the door and thought, I didn’t even know what
This is not a PSA on the importance of using a shopping list, though it certainly is a takeaway. This is an invitation to take inventory of what you already have and the motivations you have for looking for anything else.
I don’t know about you, but when my life is going one hundred miles a minute, I don’t take the time to think, I react, and usually from a motivation of fear; Not a scouting the house with a flashlight and scissors pointed out ready to strike fear, but a fear of not having enough; Running out of supplies, needing to take time when I won’t have it, feeling deprived, not having the next thing planned or prepared, running out of time. While the widget I’m using here is a bottle of water, the fear encompasses all aspects of life in varying degrees of fear and/or anxiety.
When I saw the bottle by the door, I realized, the provision
was already there, I did not need to buy another one. And, if it wasn’t there, the day would go on,
and all would be well. Inventory allows
us to see what we have, if what we have is what we still want, if we can sell
it, give it away, or find a renewed purpose in utilizing what is already there,
and if need be, strategize ways to fill in the gaps.
This year I’m looking for pockets of time to slow down, look at all that has been provided, raise my Ebenezer in praise to the God who provides even when I don’t see all the ways he does it. And though it may not have been a stream in the dessert, the sparkling water by the door was enough of an invitation to take inventory. Just one more way he speaks to me in gentle loving ways, reminding me he was, is, and always will be the God who sees (Gen. 16:13) and the source of all my provision.