The Easter Feast

With Easter Sunday just around the corner, it’s not only time to be getting the groceries home for our Easter menu, but also time to be reminding ourselves why we do this in the first place. Why do we go to all this trouble anyway? Because our feasting is celebrating before the Lord, and He is pleased when His people rejoice together.

God Himself is the ultimate host. He loves to spread a feast for His people. He prepares a feast for us, and He prepares us to come to His table. He welcomes us, fills and feeds us, sings over us, and all with joy. We are a people greatly blessed!

God likes noisy celebrations: “The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous” (Psalm 118:15). Imagine what it would be like to walk down a street Easter afternoon and hear loud parties every few houses. The voice of rejoicing and salvation!

So as we make preparations for this upcoming Easter Feast, we should think about how we can imitate our Heavenly Father. What kind of party does He like to attend? Does He like sitting at our tables? Is there peace and joy in our homes, or is there stress and conflict? Over the years, I have stumbled in many ways over the Sabbath preparation. I have fussed, either out loud or in my heart. I have confessed many sins regarding the weekly feast. But each time, God reassures me that I have another chance the following week to do better. I think this has been a significant factor in my sanctification!  But take heart:  being tired is not a sin. This kind of regular feasting requires a lot of labor, but it’s a huge blessing.

I’ve come up with many shortcuts and helpful tips on how to cook for and serve lots of people and lots of kids. But I’ve also learned a bunch about how to prepare myself and how to think about this meal of meals each week. Here’s my short list of reminders.

1. Be hospitable without grumbling…God loves a cheerful giver. God cares more about our attitudes than about the menu. Rather celery sticks and water with joy than lots of yummy food with fussing. But it’s not an either/or. We can have the good food with joy overflowing.

2. Remember the most important guest at your table is Jesus. Make sure you are preparing the kind of home He loves to be in. Be done with strife. Don’t fuss. No matter if your centerpiece wilts or the wine spills or someone is late. Cheerful hearts are more important. “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart” (Ecc. 9:7).

3. Love covers a multitude of sins. Let it go. Spread love over offenses, slights, and sins, whether real or imagined.

4. When we have many guests at the table, I sit next to my husband rather than down at the other end of the table. Then I don’t have to shout to be heard, and I don’t have to send him hand signals. We can consult on what should happen when, decide when to start clearing the table,  smile together at the chaos, and it’s just more fun. Make it easy on yourself.

5. I heartily recommend praying ahead of time. Pray for the food, pray for the guests, and pray for your own peace and cheerfulness. Expect at least one curve ball and don’t let it throw you. (The oven won’t work, you forgot to buy butter, your guests are late, someone cries at the table….) Just recently we had a delightful lasagna meal with some friends, but it wasn’t so delightful for the hostess. Her oven went into lock-down, cleaning mode with the lasagna still in it! But it turned out delicious, and we had a wonderful time. Guests are always far less concerned with things than the hostess is.

Our weekly Sabbath dinners are practice sessions for the big feasts like Easter, and at our house we try to make it all about the kids, especially since there are fifteen at our table most every week. We never want the Sabbath dinner to be an obligation rather than a delight. I often spread candy on the kids’ table and light the candles. They have little wine glasses for the toasts. When we bought an eighteen-foot table years ago, we thought it would work for us forever, but we have outgrown it. So the kids sit at the table, and the adults carry their plates to the living room.

But we always have our Sabbath liturgy first. I’m going to print it here for you, not because I think you should do the same thing, but just to give you an idea of what you can do each week with your own children or grandchildren. When we started doing this, Doug was writing it for a handful of kids. Needless to say, it’s a much bigger deal now.  He has a question for each child, and as they get older, he changes it to fit their age.

First he welcomes everyone to our table.

Then we raise our glasses for the Sabbath Toast:

This is the day that the Lord hath made.

We will rejoice and be glad in it!

Then he prays, which is followed by (and the children join in)

A Blessing for my Wife

May her house always have seven pillars and may she always mix her wine with wisdom.

A Blessing for the Children

Happy are the people whose God is the Lord. May our sons flourish like saplings, grown up in their youth, and may our daughters be as columns, sculpted in the palace style.

Catechism questions for all:

Do you love God? Yes!

Are you baptized? Yes!

Is Jesus in your heart? Yes!

Will you take the Lord’s Supper tomorrow? Yes!

Catechism questions:

Blaire, who made you? God

Marisol, who made Titus and Chloe? God

Titus, what day is it? The Lord’s Day

Chloe, why is it the Lord’s Day? Because Jesus rose

Daphne, what kind of day is it? A sweet day

Seamus, what did Jesus kill on this day? The dragon

Judah, what else did Jesus kill? The dragon in our hearts

Lina, why did God give us the sabbath? So we could rest

Ameera, why did God give us Jesus? So we could rest in our hearts

Lucy, who is true man and true God? Jesus

Hero, do we have to earn our salvation? No, it is a free gift

Rory, what is the word for that free gift? The word is grace

Bel, what day of  the week is this? The first day, the foundation day

Jemma, what does this mean? Every day is built on a foundation of grace

Knox, why did God do all this for us? Jesus died and rose to wash all our sins away

Kids, what’s the point of the whole Bible? Kill the dragon, get the girl!


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19 thoughts on “The Easter Feast

  1. Nancy,
    Thank you for this post. I especially like the advise of sitting next to you husband, I heard you say that months ago, and it works wonderfully. Thank you. The liturgy is wonderful. Thank you for the example.
    Have a lovely Easter.

  2. “Kill the dragon, get the girl! Whoo-yaw!” I like that. My boys will really like that. Thank you. This is the first time I’ve done BIG (20 people) Easter on my own (without my mama helping), and this post helped immensely. Thank you, again!

  3. Last week was a week of celebration for us….we had a feast with just the three of us for our second anniversary, and then Saturday we had 35 people (in our 1500 square foot house!) for our daughter’s first birthday party.
    I found myself ‘stumbling’ a lot as I prepared for our anniversary dinner… sounds silly, because it was just the two of us and a baby! But I let my perfectionism get in the way, and ended up having to confess a lot of sin. But I did learn my lesson….for this time. On Saturday I put perfectionism aside and everyone had a wonderful time celebrating our little girl’s life!

  4. Thanks for sharing this! We are two years into a new Easter Feast tradition and it’s bigger than ever this year. This was a good way to start my day of preparation.

    Also, thanks for sharing your Sabbath dinner liturgy. You’ve alluded to it before, and I’ve wondered exactly what it was as I’d like to have something similar at our Family Dinner Night.

    It’s good to hear your solution for a growing family. Our dining room is more of a breezeway, and with Family Dinner Night edging up on 14 every week, it’s starting to get cramped. It’s good to be reminded that it’s okay to compromise on the one-table goal rather than have a bad attitude about the house we have or family dinner night in general.

    Thanks again for an inspiring start to my day!

  5. Just wondering, at what age do the children “graduate” to not answering catechism questions in the liturgy?

    Love this! Thanks for sharing it, again!

  6. In my preparations for our Easter feast, I burnt the crust of my cheesecake, set off the smoke detector while burning, I mean, browning the meat, and dropped an egg shell in the pound cake. I came here looking for some perspective and was not disappointed.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. I was just about to ask you how you celebrate your Sabbath dinner, but you answered my questions here. Thank you for this post!

  8. Hi this is a great post and helped me as I made my cheesecake contribution to easter. I’ve some questions though-why do you hold your feasts on the Sabbath (ie Saturday) as I’d thought we as Christians were supposed to celebrate on Sunday-is there a theological reason I’m missing or is it convenience as you’re a minister’s family? What do you do on Sunday? Also the last question of the catechism-I’m prob being a bit dim but is kill the dragon get the girl referring to Christ’s work on the cross and redeeming the church? I was a bit confused. But I did like the phrase!

  9. Emma,
    Thanks for the good questions. I am happy to amplify and clarify.
    Yes, we view Sunday as the Lord’s Day. We hold our feast on Saturday night simply because it is easier for us as a minister’s family, and my husband enjoys it that way because it is our “kick off” of the Lord’s Day. (He sees Sunday worship as the big game every week, if you follow his football metaphor.)We view the Lord’s Day from 6 pm on Saturday night to 6 pm on Sunday night. So our Sabbath Dinner is just our opening event. When the kids were still in school, Doug told them that they got to take the day off, no homework Saturday night or Sunday! But after six o’clock on Sunday, they could resume their duties. We just wanted to make sure they were seeing the Lord’s Day as a day off from their work. Your church may have a Sunday evening service, so you might consider the Lord’s Day from morning to night on Sunday. The important thing is to honor and enjoy Him on this day and rest! So, on Sunday after church, my husband puts his feet up, the kids often come over with sandwich fixin’s and we just hang out. Sometimes, if we are having guests on Sunday, we don’t celebrate Saturday night too. And on Easter, of course, we celebrated Sunday after church. And yes, “Kill the Dragon! Get the girl!” is referring to Christ’s work of redeeming the Church.

  10. Thank you so much. I like the idea of making sure that the kids saw making the Lord’s day a day off to worship as important. This is something we will have to think about carefully-at the minute taking a day off to worship is easy as my husband and I serve in the morning youth service and then hang out with our family or church family before taking it in turns to go to evening service, but our little boy is only 11mths old, so the pressure to do sport on a Sunday hasn’t hit yet.

  11. Emma,
    We didn’t care if our kids messed around playing frisbee or shooting hoop in the backyard on the Lord’s Day. But if our son or daughter had been on a team that scheduled a Sunday game, they would not have played. A Saturday night game is something we could work around, because we would celebrate our feast on Sunday. We dont want to be gnat stranglers about the time. As our grandkids get older, I’m pretty certain we will be juggling the time we celebrate, and it may have to move to Sunday more often.
    We are just now trying to figure out how to adapt the liturgy to older kids. I’ll let you know when we figure it out!

  12. Mrs Wilson, I have never been taught that there is significance to the Sabbath this side of the cross, and have always been taught that Jesus is our Sabbath rest, so there is no need for a physical Sabbath anymore. I have been interested by your family’s view on this, and was wondering if there are any books/articles that explain why Christians should still observe the Sabbath? I am drawn to the idea of a Sabbath feast, but it is not something I have grown up with, nor is it part of the Reformed Church culture in South Africa. I can see the richness and value of it. Also, what would your advice be to a wife who would love to have a Sabbath celebration, but who’s husband is not keen?

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