Thursday, March 28, 2013

Passover Prizes

During the Passover Seder, it is a tradition to break a matzah in two and hide part of it for the children to find.  This matzah called the "Afikomen".  It is wrapped in a linen cloth and hidden by the leader of the seder, usually the father.  For believers in Yeshua the Messiah, the Afikomen is a symbol of Yeshua, His death and His resurrection.  At the appropriate time in the seder, the children look for it, and the one who finds it is rewarded with a "ransom" paid by the leader.  
At our family seder, since we just have two daughters, I like to tell them to search for the Afikomen together, so they both get a prize.  I usually put together a gift bag for each of them for my husband to give them in exchange for the Afikomen.  This year in their gift bags they each got a little lamb that I made out of vintage sheets from a vintage pattern. 
Aren't they cute?  This is the pattern I used:
Adorable, right?  I didn't put the silly hair on the lambs, though.  I thought they were cuter without it.
Also in their gift bags was a beautiful bookmark for each of them from an Etsy shop called Light of Zion Handcrafted Jewelry. This one is called "Torah on Your Heart":
Torah on Your Heart Bookmark
And this one is "One in Messiah":
One in Messiah Bookmark
They are so pretty, like jewelry for your book or Bible, and they are so special and meaningful!  My girls love them!  They came with a little card with a scripture attached, and a sweet handwritten note from Elisheva, the artist who created them. Elisheva also has an Etsy shop called Messianic Cards, featuring her works of art on gorgeous cards.  I haven't ordered any yet, because I simply can't choose! Here are a couple of nice ones for Passover:
Messiah Our Passover Cards
Celebrate the Feast Cards
I hope you are all having a happy and blessed Passover week!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Passover: A Night to Remember

My family and I have been celebrating the Biblical Holidays for about 5 years now, and every time I celebrate one of them I am more and more amazed at the intricate symbolism contained in each one.  As each holiday comes around every year I learn more and more about God's infinite wisdom, His plan for His people, and the depths of His love for us.  I also learn more about our Messiah Yeshua, because each of these holidays points directly to Him through symbolism, prophecy, and tradition.  Each time I make to effort to observe one of God's Holidays I am drawn closer to Him and I am greatly blessed.

Passover began last night at sundown.  This year as Passover approached, I was especially impressed by the theme of remembrance.  God has given us all of His holidays because He wants us to remember.  He wants us to remember that we are His people and He is our God.  He wants us to remember the the great miracles that He has performed on behalf of his people.  He wants us to remember Him!  So he gives us special times set aside specifically for remembering, and he fills these times with symbols, illustrations, and object lessons to help us remember.  This is what Passover is all about.

While preparing for Passover, we literally clean the leaven out of our homes.  Leaven is a symbol for sin, so we throw it all out.  We sweep, vacuum, mop, and clean to make sure there are no little crumbs left that might contain leaven.  While we do this we remember how easily sin can creep into our lives, and we need to throw it all out!  As we work to get the leaven out of our houses, we remember that sin, like leaven, can be hidden in unexpected places, and we must be vigilant in keeping it out of our lives.

Once the leaven is all cleaned out, it is time for the Passover seder.  Throughout the seder, we remember and we teach our children to remember.  When we read the words of the Haggadah, we remember the events that took place when God delivered His people from slavery.  We remember the pain and bitterness of that slavery when we eat the horseradish and our eyes water.  We splatter ten drops of wine or juice on our plates as we remember each plague that Egypt suffered because Pharoh wouldn't let God's people go.  When we see the shank bone on the seder plate, we remember that each family was required to sacrifice a lamb.  When we eat the parsley we remember that God passed over the homes of His people during the plague of the firstborn if they had spread the blood of the sacrificed lamb on their doorposts with hyssop as He had instructed. When we drink the first cup we remember that God brought His people out of Egypt to sanctify them; to set them apart.  The second cup reminds us that He delivered them from their bondage, and the third cup helps us remember that they were redeemed; a price was paid with God's powerful, outstretched arm.  The fourth cup is the Cup of Hope, and when we drink it we remember that God gave His people a hope for the future. When we eat the matzah we remember that the people left Egypt in haste, and their bread did not have time to form leaven and rise.

But that's not all!  As believers in Messiah Yeshua, there is so much more!  We look at all of these symbols from another perspective, because Yeshua told us to do these things in remembrance of Him!  Now each part of the seder becomes a beautiful picture of Messiah.  When we drink the wine we remember the blood he shed for us, so that WE can be set apart, delivered, redeemed, and have a hope for the future.  When we eat the matzah we remember that Yeshua had no "leaven", and did not sin, yet, like the matzah, he was pierced, striped and broken for us.  Throughout the seder we remember that Yeshua is our Passover lamb.  He was the ultimate sacrifice for us, and we can now be brought out of slavery to sin and into freedom!

Passover is the beginning of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when we eat matzah, and no leaven, for a week.  We are reminded of Yeshua every time we eat matzah during this week.  The Feast of Firstfruits also takes place during this week, which is the day the offering of firstfruits was waved before God.  This is the same day that Yeshua rose from the grave!

This has become one of my favorite times of the year.  Passover has such great significance, especially for the believer in Yeshua!  There is much, much more to it than what I've written here.  Here are some links to additional information if you are interested in learning more:

Why would a Christian Observe Passover?
Passover Overview
A Messianic Seder and Haggadah
The ABCs of Passover
What is Passover?
Another Messianic Haggadah
My blog post from 2 years ago "Why I Love Passover"

And here is my favorite Passover video this year:

This post is linked up here:
Time-Warp Wife Titus 2sday
Deep Roots at Home
Teaching What is Good Women Helping Women
Winsome Wednesday
Wholehearted Home Wednesday
Thought Provoking Thursday