Not sure where to start this post. It's the fourth of April. The night after a blood moon. The second day of Passover. The night before Easter Sunday. This year we've decided to try celebrating Jewish Holy Days, rather than ones with quasi-Christian influences. Over the years I've heard bits and pieces of people suggesting that Christian holidays are really take-overs by Christians of Pagan ones, so after thinking about it, I settled to reason that their ideas were sound. That maybe if Mormons believe they are adopted into the House of Israel, maybe I ought to become more familiar with these holy days, and how to celebrate them.
I started by sharing this video with my husband and mother, both of whom would be influential in making any effort a success. Without their support, I knew I'd have a high "fail" rate.
It's short and sweet, and after watching it 3 times I felt I'd have a good idea on how to attempt to do this, even though there are many aspects that are quite nearly impossible for a modern family to achieve. For example, how does one get the blood of the firstborn, unblemished lamb on their door posts? I don't even know where I could buy lamb's meat, much less acquire blood. So this video suggests simply painting on cardboard to simulate the idea. We did that tonight. And last night we did a "treasure hunt" for the leavened bread, hid throughout the living room. My kids loved it so much they asked if we could do it again tonight! haha!
Since Passover this year supposedly goes from April 3-11, we'll be doing little bits and pieces of the celebration over that time. Today we participated in a Seder with a Jewish lady in the ward, and although the kids went a bit haywire (and I kinda lost my mind too), it was really enjoyable. I feel confident I could try this on my own next year.
Now that the kids are asleep and we're wondering if we ought to fill Easter Baskets, I began thinking of my grandma. She was the only grandparent I really knew, as the other grandparents had passed either before I was born, or when I was very young. She was devoutly Christian, in fact probably the most religious person I'd ever known. If one could be called fanatical, she would be one. I've heard stories of her taking the bible so literally as to "eat" the word, by tearing out pages of her scripture and eating them. Gosh I love her. What I would give to be able to sit down with her and share all the things I've learned over the last few years. I would love to see her response. Would she support my findings? Would she oppose me, and call me a heretic? She was one who searched for a restoration of God's church, following minister after minister. She would stand up in church and bear her testimony, rather than walk up to the microphone. This past Sunday I stayed home after recovering from Strep Throat, and heard that a brother stood up in his pew to bear his testimony, and didn't go up to the stand. I told my mom that he must've been thinking of Grandma, because that's totally something she would do. Considering it was Palm Sunday, even more something up her alley. (As I write this, my husband just walked in with two Easter Lillies, which is exactly what she used to take in to church and set on either side of the pulpit on Palm Sunday.) In fact, on Palm Sunday or Easter - whichever would be closest to Easter, she would typically go up to the pulpit and sing us a song. A capella. And usually she couldn't hear if she was off tune, so we just smiled and hoped she'd sit down now. But what I would give to sing with her songs of praise. I think she'd probably be the only one in the house I'd really feel comfortable singing with like that.
Also on Easter Sunday, Grandma would call up the phone operator at 6 am, and announce "He is Risen!" She would wear her royal blue dress, and on one of her lapels she would pin a large white cross. Sometimes they were jeweled, and sometimes made with paper and tape. Easter was surely her favorite holiday. For her it was truly a Holy Day, and for years it has been one for me too. I have to wonder if she would approve of our consideration of Passover. She loved the Jews, and one of the highlights of her life was her trip with my granddad to Jerusalem. Years before she died she gave me a large picture book that she had as a memoir of her trip, and I still keep it as a cherished reminder of her. Oh how I wish I could talk to her again, in her prime of her mind and coherence, and see what she makes of all the amazing things going on in the world today. I have to wonder what she would say.
Fittingly, her name was Mary.