We have our Easter Sunday traditions. Church, a delicious buffet and spending time with family. Additionally, we have several activities we started to implement throughout the days leading up to Easter to help us draw closer to one another and to Jesus, the One we are celebrating this special time of year!
Celebrating a traditional Jewish Passover meal, otherwise known as a Sedar, can be intimidating. Even though I had the passion, drive and desire to teach this tradition to my family, I was hesitant because of all of the preparation that goes into it. Once I looked at what the Sedar truly represents; reflecting back on the God of provision, protection and faithfulness, I decided to go for it.
I’m not Jewish, so why would I even consider making the Sedar a part of our Easter routine? My husband and I wanted to show our children, in a practical way, how a Biblical practice, dating back to the Old Testament, is a symbol of Jesus. We wanted to dive deeper into Biblical history by giving them a hands-on experience. We thought it would be powerful to have them to partake in a meal similar to the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples shortly before his sacrifice on the cross.
Before our first attempt, I had only ever attended one Sedar, and it was in Israel so the ingredients for the meal were easy to come by. Trying this meal in the states was going to be a bit different. So, I sat down, looked at the list of ingredients, and decided to pick and choose what would work for our family. I found a simple recipe for homemade matzah, gathered some bitter herbs, grape juice, candles and some traditional recipes for the main meal such a potato pancakes and meat. We hid a piece of matzah for the children to search for after the meal and had the children take turns reading the readings designated for children. Everyone had a role to play that first evening and the children had a wonderful experience. It has become a family tradition ever since!
Two weeks before Easter, we begin reading the Easter story, according to the Bible. I take a slightly different approach than others might be used to. I begin the week by whispering instructions into each of my children’s ears telling them something I want them to act out. What I choose, is an event that we have all done together recently; a meal at a restaurant, a hike in the woods or a trip to a local museum. They love it because they get to use their creativity and I love that it gets their energy out! After their dramatic performances, I tell them that they were all told to act out the exact same thing. They immediately laugh because their interpretations were all so different and unique. I remind them that we do this activity to remember that when we read the different accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection that they were all written by different people with different perspectives. Each of the four gospels share the story of Jesus, all from a different viewpoint. I split up the accounts so we can read through all four gospel accounts of the Holy Week throughout the weeks leading up to Easter. To keep it interesting, I make a chart and use colorful markers to compare and contrast the events mentioned in each of the gospels. This helps keep my kids on their toes as we read through each account. They love noticing new events mentioned as we go through the different gospels and making note of it. Even though I enjoy reading illustrated storybook’s depicting the Easter story to them when they are little, as they get a bit older I find that reading straight from the Bible itself opens up the door for good, quality conversation about what Jesus did on the cross for us, and why!
On a morning when we have plenty of time, I call the kids into the kitchen for a special breakfast treat, Resurrection Rolls. The ingredient list is simple:
- 2 (10 oz) Cans Refrigerated Biscuits
- 1 (10.5 Oz) Bag Marshmallows
- 1/2 Cup Sugar3 Tablespoons Cinnamon
- 1/4 Cup Melted Butter
While the oven is preheating to 400 degrees, the children combine the sugar and cinnamon. I hand each one a flattened biscuit and they place “Jesus” (the marshmallow) in the tomb. They fold it up so the edges are wrapped firmly around the marshmallow and then dip it into the “oil,” (butter). Then they dip it into the “spices,” cinnamon and sugar. I place them in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Once they are cooled, I cut them in half and the marshmallow is gone (melted), Christ has risen!