A Messianic Passover Seder (and a Seder Meal Script!)

Messianic Passover Seder meal

Learn how to host your first Messianic Passover Seder meal with this instructional video and an easy-to-follow Seder meal script. I sat in my scratchy nylons at a long wooden table. All the other 12-year-olds from my Sunday School class sat in similar plastic chairs along the table. Together, we dipped a green vegetable into a bowl of salt water and scowled as we briefly tasted it. We winced at the bitterness of horseradish and secretly took an extra scoop of the apple/nut mixture. We raised our glasses of grape juice and broke the flatbread as one. And then, I forgot all about it. It was my first glimpse of a Jewish Passover celebration, but because I didn’t see the connection to my Christian faith, it was buried deep in my memories. Those memories resurfaced a few years ago as I did research on the Passover Seder meal and its … Read More

How A Foot Washing Ceremony Can Be a Highlight of Your Easter (+ Easter Reading Plan)

Foot washing ceremony - Jesus washing feet of person in jeans

The smell of little boy feet and soap suds mingled with giggles in my kitchen. I gently tugged off a sock, then placed one of their feet in the warm water that filled my roasting pan. He tugged his foot away, but I guided it gently back into the water.  I squirted soap on the cloth and rubbed the little sweaty foot, then towel dried each toe.  After being washed, each boy picked up the cloth and washed the feet of their mom or dad.  The activity was both silly and sweet, tangible and touching (with a touch of ticklish).     Why did we do this foot washing ceremony? The idea for this ceremony comes from John 13:1-17. In this passage, Jesus was celebrating an ancient festival with his disciples, called Passover. The Passover (or Seder) meal was the lynchpin in this feast, as it carried so many reminders … Read More

Can preschoolers celebrate Lent?

This year, for the first time ever, I’m trying to do a bit of teaching on Lent with my kids. We talked a bit about Ash Wednesday and how people put ashes in a cross shape on their face. When they went to bed I traced a cross on their foreheads with my finger, which got a little weirded-out chuckle from them. BUT they did remember it for a few days! 😉 The next day we started our own version of “giving up for Lent”. Every time they do something kind or sacrificial for someone they get to put a dry bean in a jar. The plan is that the jar will be full of beans by the time Easter comes around. They are really getting into it, and both older boys got to add a couple beans today. At supper, Daddy accidentally knocked over the salt, and Dodger (age … Read More

Your Ultimate Guide To Celebrating Lent…No Matter What Christian Tradition You’re From

Lent for all Christians

I first heard of Lent waaaay back when I was about 20. That first year, I decided I wanted to try celebrating Lent by giving up something: sugar. That was SO hard. And to be honest, I didn’t really understand why I was doing it.  Since then, I’ve learned a bit more about celebrating Lent. If you’re unfamiliar with it, here are a few myths and truths: Myth #1: Celebrating Lent is only for Catholics. Truth: Lent is observed by Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians alike. Lent is an ancient practice that began long before Christians used such labels to define ourselves. Myth #2: Lent is 40 days long.  Truth: It’s actually 46 days! Those extra 6 days are Sundays, when tradition says that you can break your fast. Myth #3: Lent is about fasting. Truth: Well, that one was partly true, but Lent isn’t just about giving up something.  There are 3 traditional Lenten … Read More

What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash cross for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday was not part of my upbringing, but a few years ago I had a hunch that there was something deeply meaningful about Ash Wednesday, but because it kept sneaking up on me, I never had time to figure it out in time. You are reading this, now, so I assume you have a hunch that there’s something about Ash Wednesday too. Maybe, just maybe it might help you connect with God in a way that has been dry for a long time. If you are dissatisfied (mildly or extremely) with cultural Christianity, with the way it angrily denounces the culture while standing on the backs of the bleeding innocent, I invite you to join me on this journey. If you feel like something’s not quite aligned in your relationship with God and you need a spiritual chiropractic treatment, I invite you to join me. If you struggle with … Read More

More Than a Bunny: How To Teach Kids About The Real Meaning of Easter

Cute little girl with a bunny rabbit at easter with green grass

Teaching kids (and adults) about the real meaning of Easter! Easter is coming! And with it, the eggs and bunnies and chicks. But while Easter might currently be celebrated as an Ode to Spring with its bunnies and eggs and plastic-grass-filled-baskets, that is not why Christians celebrate it. You may have heard a rumor that Easter was originally a pagan holiday. This is debatable. If this interests you, read this very well-research article here from an atheist historian (who clearly has no need to prove that Easter wasn’t pagan). Anyway, Easter is actually more closely linked to an ancient Jewish holiday, called Passover. So many holidays. (Want to celebrate a Messianic Passover meal with your kids? Check out this article!) Here’s the short version: Several thousand years ago, the Jewish people lived as slaves in Egpyt. In a hugely dramatic showdown with the gods of Egypt, the Jewish God sent … Read More

3 Simple ways to prepare for Easter as a family

Kids at the Cross of Jesus Christ

I had an argument with my son yesterday. My point: Easter is more important than Christmas, because without Easter, Christmas would be meaningless. His point: Christmas is more important than Easter, because you wouldn’t have Easter without Christmas. We ended at a stalemate. Probably because both are important! Do you find that it seems so much easier to teach your kids about Christmas than it is to teach them about Easter? That may be a result of the subject matter: babies and cozy stable scenes are way easier to integrate than betrayal and death. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should avoid it. Here are a few of my favorite resources to help your family celebrate Easter, without going crazy with too many extra things. (PS: Read this article for my pro tip on explaining Easter to kids) 1. LISTEN TO AUDIO My friend Jessica from Gather & … Read More

The Bible is not about you (why we have to stop looking for “life application”)

I grew up assuming the Bible was about me. I mean, my Sunday School teachers taught me that every Bible story had a personal life application, so I assumed that held true for every part of the Bible. And that included the really long lists of names in Numbers, the prophecies about all the nearby cultures that were depraved, the bit about long hair being a woman’s glory…all of it. I spent years trying to fit “life application” on top of every word in the Bible. Then, I spent the next decade trying to figure out what the Bible is actually about. And I discovered something. The Bible isn’t about me. It’s not about you either. (Hate to break it to you, but it’s true.) Do you think Jeremiah had 21st century North Americans in mind when he was talking to the exiles? Nope. He didn’t even have 21st century … Read More

40 Lent Activities for Families (that are simple and FUN!)

The season of Lent covers the 40 day period before Easter. Each year it starts on a different date (because Easter moves around), although always on Ash Wednesday. If you are looking for Lent activities for families (either your family, or the families in your ministry), check out this comprehensive list! It is said that the 40 days reflect Jesus’ time of fasting and prayer in the wilderness after his baptism. Many people sacrifice something during Lent (like coffee, sweets, or shopping) as a way to tune their hearts back to God. The point of sacrificing something important is to remember that God wants to be the most important aspect of our lives. When we come to depend on a sugary snack rather than prayer during the mid-afternoon slump, Lent reminds us of our waywardness and calls us back to our first love. Would you like to observe Lent with your … Read More