Today it felt like the Lord was present in our home, and I have no doubt that this was due to our inviting Him into our home during our observance of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. To learn more about this Biblical feast, I suggest googling it. There are many websites from Wikipedia to the Jewish Orthodox Union that will give you details about it as well as all of the other feasts mentioned in the Bible.
If you've been following my blog, then you already know that we're learning about the Biblical feasts as part of our curriculum this year. I was extremely excited about this part of our studies, and I have, thus far, not been disappointed. We are all very much enjoying this journey to which the Lord has lead us.
To some extent, these feasts can feel ritualistic, which is the opposite of what I believe the Lord wants for us. I believe He outlined these feasts to remind us to set aside time to honor Him as well as to benefit us. Rest is a big part of these celebrations. Americans don't rest enough, you know? We're always running around like crazy people, and people from other countries look at us like we're nuts. I think they may be right about that sometimes. Our children don't absolutely need to be involved in every activity. In fact, our children need to be home more, and, more than likely, so do most of us.
Back to Yom Kippur...we began our observance last night with a special meal, just like we would for any big holiday celebration. We laid out our best dishes and candles on a lovely table cloth. The kids especially love, love, LOVE having candlelight at the table. I think that is one thing that we'll be doing for more holidays in the future simply because it adds a little special flair (no pun intended) to the atmosphere.
Eric began our meal by praying a prayer of blessing over each of the children, a Yom Kippur tradition, and then added his own special prayer of blessing over me as well. This is a beautiful thing for a husband to do. Husbands, if you are reading this, I encourage you to spend time praying for your wife and letting her know how much you appreciate her. I promise you that there are days, many, many days, when she does not feel appreciated. She will be blessed by your prayer and recognition of the time she spends caring for your family.
The only traditional recipe we understood that needed to be included in this meal is called kreplach, and you can find the recipe that we tried HERE. I meshed two recipes together to simplify this. One recipe called for using refrigerated pie crust to make the dumplings. I recommend this approach unless you really love making your own pastry(as a from-scratch cook, I can say with all honesty that I do NOT enjoy making pie crust. Pillsbury is my special pie crust friend).
I find it interesting that as I research all the traditional ways of observing these Biblical feasts, there are two main themes that seem to be a part of each one. Worship and food!!!! We had a great time of family worship after our celebratory feast last night. We read the book of Jonah and sang a little. We talked about the fact that Yom Kippur traditionally involves a time of fasting, something that we did not believe our children were quite ready for in the traditional sense. Instead, we chose to do a non-traditional media fast. Lukas was especially struck by this because he realized right away that this meant giving up one of the 2 days he's allowed to play Wii each week. However, by the end of today, I found myself to be very proud of both kids. Neither asked to even turn on the radio. Neither complained about not being "allowed" to watch t.v. or play the Wii or get on the computer. They spent the day playing board games, building Lincoln log villages, running around outside (gorgeous weather!), reading and hanging-out with us. It was a fantastic day.
At the end of today, we had a symbolic ending of our fast by having a breakfast meal. I made quiche for the first time, not that this matters so much other than that it was fun for me and made everyone's taste buds happy. We read from the book of Psalms during our evening family devotional time and talked about how much money we saved during the time we didn't use any of our normal media outlets (someone is always on the computer, and the stereo is often playing in this house). The kids prepared their 10/10/10 offering for tomorrow's church service using money they have earned over the past few weeks as well as some other money they had saved. I love it when what is happening at church so completely supports what we're trying to teach our kids at home. Sacrifice, giving, and worship. Our children learned that lesson over the past month culminating with this weekend's late observance of Yom Kippur. There are few lessons which they will learn in life as valuable as this.