Raised in the Christian church, I had no idea about Jewish holidays. Granted, I was vaguely familiar with the names that I saw on my calendar each year. I knew Passover was close to Easter and Hanukkah was close to Christmas … but Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Purim? No clue.
So when I married my husband – Aaron Bernstein – I was introduced to Judaism through his father’s family’s customs. The smells and tastes of the food and the sounds and sights of the Hebrew language were oh so foreign to me. I slowly began to form some sort of understanding of what the holidays were and what traditions they entailed.
The joy of hosting Passover
We still were –and are – devout Christians. And 10 years ago, my husband felt led to host a Messianic Passover Seder in our home. We’ve been inviting Christian friends into our home each year for a Seder, as a way to worship our Lord together and to observe Passover.
Typically, we invite believers who have never been to a Seder before – the night ends up being educational, filled with worship, and at times, a little awkward as everyone attempts the Hebrew readings.
What used to seem so strange to me has now become a highlight in my year. I think it’s because it has everything to do with my favorite things. I get to:
- Deep clean my home,
- Prepare a feast,
- Host a large group of loved ones, and
- Worship the Lord together.
Since each of those bring me much joy and satisfaction, I naturally look forward to this celebration.
Lessons learned while preparing for Passover
Since a Passover Seder hasn’t been ingrained in me since my childhood, I’m still learning the significance of it.
A few years ago I realized that spring cleaning has everything to do with Passover. The Jews needed to purify their homes, and remove any leaven – that meant scrubbing everything clean before the Seder.
As a result, I’ve synchronized my spring cleaning schedule to the date of Passover each year.
This year, as I’ve tried to meticulously clean out all the dust and crumbs and dirt from our living spaces, I was struck with the realization that just as I’m cleaning out that filth from my home I need to work at cleaning out the filth from my life.
- Am I as diligent in searching out and removing sin?
- Or do I cherish certain sins by holding on to them?
- Do I try to sweep my favorites away from my attention, without ever truly cutting them out of my life?
- Do I actively seek repentance?
- Do I work hard at deep cleaning my soul?
I admit it’s much easier to scrub out the cobwebs from my home than to scrub out the cobwebs from my life. Yet repenting and coming to God with clean hands and a pure heart is so very much more important.
And so, while this Christian woman begins to understand more of the significance of Jewish holidays, I’ll start to apply some of the meaning to my own life.
For now, I’ll work on finding and cleaning out sin in my life, and dwell on the significance of Christ’s sacrifice – the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.
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