I am fascinated by cultures and customs. America definitely has its own culture, but as a people, as a nation, we don't have mannerisms and such like other ethnicities and countries do. Please know--I think we live in the greatest country in the world, but we just don't have things like Greek weddings, Italian family loyalty, etc. We have apple pie, baseball, and the founding fathers, but you understand what I'm saying.
My granfather (my mom's dad) passed along his love for heritage and tradition to me. Thanksgiving of 2008, he gave me his Seder plate:
It's so special to me! Even though our family isn't Jewish, I believe that Christians can honor and recognize what Passover means. It's really where our story began. The Lord delivered the Hebrew people out of slavery in Egypt, and each year the Jewish people still commemorate His faithfulness. If you're not familiar with the story, Moses was the leader called by God to lead His people out of Egypt. Pharaoh refused, and the Lord sent horrible plagues over Egypt. The final plague was killing the firstborn male in every family--animals included. Even Pharaoh's son was killed, but the Angel of Death passed over every Hebrew household that had the blood of an unblemished lamb on the doorpost. This was also a sign of prophecy, which was fulfilled with Jesus Christ--an unblemished lamb--was sacrificed so that we might be saved from our sin. Although the Jews (as a whole) don't recognize Jesus as their Messiah, Christian families can still celebrate God's deliverance and faithfulness in our lives.
Along with his Seder plate, my grandfather gave me all of his research on the Passover and its customs, which is truly priceless to me. I've been sorting through it, since Passover is upon us. I had originally planned to have a Passover dinner, but I'm not quite ready. I want to really have everything prepared and my thoughts collected, and most importantly--I want family present. So I've dedicated this Passover to research, and next year when we're all moved in and settled, we'll have a full family Passover celebration!
I've already learned so much. I love the fact that the Jewish people pass on their story in a tangible, traditional, and tactile way. You experience the retelling of the story by seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting. If I can get everything organized, I'll try to share what I've learned. At the very least, I'll point you to some resources.
The most important thing I've taken away is this: In the Passover Seder service (which takes place at the table), there is a section where the word Dayenu is used--- "It would have been enough." The leader goes through everything that the Lord did for the Hebrew people, and everyone says "Dayenu"---if He had only done this, it would have been more than enough. But God, in His infinite mercy and love, keeps giving blessing after blessing. This is reflected well in John 1:16: "From His abundance, we have all received one gracious blessing after another." Dayenu. It would have been enough for You to save me. It would have been enough for You to give the Holy Spirit to me. It would have been enough for You to bless me with a godly husband and precious daughter. It would have been enough for You to continually love and forgive me daily for my sins. But You still keep bestowing blessing.
Humbly, with a full heart and teary eyes, this Passover I celebrate and commemorate by saying Dayenu.