Celebrating Passover

Each year, our family celebrates the Passover by having a Seder Supper at our home.  Preparing for, meditating on, and enjoying this celebration has blessed us over the years, and if you’re considering starting this tradition at your house I can’t encourage you enough….it’s a beautiful thing.

Here are some basics to get you started, or to give you ideas for this year’s celebration…

Although the Jewish Passover might start at a different time of the month and the Seder would traditionally fall on a different day, our family’s tradition is to celebrate with Seder on the Thursday before Easter.  This follows the story of Jesus’s last supper and is a perfect way to start Easter weekend.  In the past we have used two different versions of the Haggadah, the script used during the Seder.  We have a beautiful spiral-bound Haggadah written in both Hebrew and English: A Passover Haggadah for Jewish Believers, the book is even bound on the right side since Hebrew is read that way (this is an affiliate link, I was surprised that Amazon happens to carry it because our copy is ancient).  You can find free versions online as well. You can download a full script, or a shortened children’s version for young children or for a celebration at church for Children’s Ministry.   Depending on the makeup of our group each year, we’ve sometimes re-written and shortened the original ourselves.  This year, Ann Voskamp has a wonderful shortened version that will be good for younger family members but does not leave much out.  I think we will be using her version (thanks, Ann!) but we will add a new tradition.

There are two very beautiful parts of the Haggadah that are wonderful but stretch the limits of a younger child’s attention span.  I love these traditions but don’t want the supper to become a burden to little children, wiggling in their seats.  The Dayenu is a beautiful litany of the ways that God saved the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt.  The second tradition I love happens before the second cup is taken, when a list of the 10 plagues is read aloud.  Each participant dips his or her finger into the wine and lets a drop of wine fall on their plate, one for each plague.  I’m working on a Dayenu dedicated to Christ, with each passage about Jesus read aloud by one voice and the others answering in “It would have been enough for us”.  Then, after the listing of the 10 plagues, we’ll ask everyone to think of one thing that God has delivered them from that year and we’ll praise Him for that as well.

We’ll also pause to give the unleavened bread (Matzah) special attention.  This is the tradition in which the Christian Communion was born, and the specifics of the three pieces of Matzah are so strongly Messianic that it never fails to bring a sense of awe to my heart, no matter how many times we celebrate this tradition.

My computer is limping along today, and this post has taken three times as long as it should have to write…I will be back to post this year’s menu.  Doing Seder gluten free is not hard (we just have to substitute a safe Matzah cracker and exchange gluten free flour for anything that requires wheat flour), and it’s actually to your advantage with Seder if you have to cook dairy-free!  In the meantime, here’s a gluten free menu from a previous year to get you started. 

Join Ann Voskamp for Walk with Him Wednesdays, she has wonderful ideas and photos for Seder!

3 thoughts on “Celebrating Passover

  • April 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I had never even heard of a Seder dinner until 3 years when miss Jennifer Dukes Lee had a script, etc. on her blog. It’s so rich in history & HIStory. We did it that year but weren’t all together last year.

    How do we participate in a Seder dinner and not follow in the footsteps of legalism? Wouldn’t this be confusing for a new Believer? (just thinking aloud)


  • April 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    That’s a great question, Darlene! Hm. Maybe fodder for a post. I think it depends on how you do it…and what you emphasize. When I talk to new believers, especially in the culture in which I live, I am all about how Jesus was a rule-breaker when it came to following laws without love. My favorite parts of the Seder are those where Jesus took a little part of the tradition and broke it in a way that showed who He was and what He was about to do for us…and that’s what I love about learning more about Jewish history, is finding the ways that Jesus said and did things that were radical for His time and place. Then, too, I think about what He said about the Sabbath being made for man and not man for the Sabbath…I think God laid out these traditions in the OT to give His people some rest and a reason to take a moment to celebrate and enjoy His blessings. That we mess them up by being restrictive and worried about the details, missing the point…well, that’s a branch of the same human flaw that drives us to devisiveness, factions, and devotion to rules rather than appreciation for our freedom in Christ’s gift of Salvation.

  • January 30, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    This is a helpful blog post with great resources. This year will be my first Passover and I am excited. I wanted to add something important to the comments even though they are a few years old.

    Jesus didn’t break God’s laws, He fulfilled them. God didn’t make any errors with His laws and the Old Testament is no exception – His laws are perfect. When Jesus spoke about legalism, He wasn’t contradicting God’s laws (Torah), He was speaking about man’s laws (the collection of laws which were spoken about in Jesus’s day and eventually became the Talmud). Specifically Jesus preached against those who followed the letter of the law but did it to show off or who did not practice humility and repentance in their hearts.

    Actually Jesus showed us what true righteousness looks like (not just the letter of the law but clean hearts and thoughts) and that all have sinned against God in thought or deed. Only God is good, Jesus tells us and we cannot earn our way into heaven. But that is not why we do Passover, we do it to remind ourselves and express our thanks to God.

    You can confidentially follow God’s laws and observe His festivals without falling into legalism. In fact, Genesis tells us that the very reason God put the moon in.the sky is to mark His festival.


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