Monday, April 7, 2008

Our Special Family Tradition

April 6th happens to be one of the more special and spiritual days of the year for me and my family.

It’s the day we celebrate Christ’s birth. I know you’re probably thinking, ‘What, we thought that’s what happened in December around Christmas time. Well we celebrate it then too. But our family has a special April the 6th tradition that started in the year 2000.

Why April the 6th? Most Biblical scholars agree on the fact that December the 25th is not the actual date of Christ’s birth, even though it is that date most of the world celebrates it. I did some Google searching and found there are a wide variety of dates, with varying reasons that many different people believe are it. One of the more interesting ones is September 11th. However, myself and the members of my church believe the date is April the 6th, 1. B.C. The date is also of interest because it was the date that our church was organized.

On April the 6th of the year 2000, I participated in a special temple dedication service that was broadcast around the world for our church. The significance of the date had me thinking hard all day about my testimony of the Savior. It was an especially quiet day for me, which doesn’t happen very often, but which is great for thinking. I reflected back on the events of Dec – Jan 1, 2000 and how I had watched the news casts showing the whole world celebrating the end of a thousand years and the beginning of a new millennium. Parties with elaborate firework displays dazzled all who saw as countries vied for the best show. Parades celebrated something wonderful and momentous. Everywhere, Huge Celebration.

I couldn’t help but compare it to that day on April the 6th, 2000 which to me was so much more significant and meaningful knowing that the Savior’s true birthday was mostly forgotten by the billions of people his life had touched. Granted most of the Christian world celebrates his birthday on another date and don’t share the significance of the date with me. Still the silence bothered me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

There was no celebration, party, anything. That evening I was watching the evening news of a very quiet and slow day and something touched me significantly. One of those things that make you go, ‘WOW,’ and send shivers all over your body. In a quick, blink and you almost miss it news blurb, they mentioned something was happening that doesn’t happen very often. The planets in our solar system aligned. I don’t know how often this happens – but it can’t be that often. So there it was, my special moment when I realized that even though the world was largely silent the heavens were paying homage to the Savior.

Starting that night I quickly pulled together a meal that represented to me the Life of Christ so that I could share my thoughts about the Savior with my children.

I based the meal on foods mentioned in the scriptures. Since then I’ve added various dishes, to make it more authentic. Replaced the Swedish Candy Fish with real fish (kind of, if you count fish sticks), and tried to make even how we ate the meal more traditional. So I’ll share with you some of the different things we do. You can have this meal at Easter or Christmas time and it would fit right in as well.

Scripture Foods (From King James Version of Bible):

Bread and Fish - Matthew 14:15-20 - Miracle of the 5 loaves and bread and 2 fishes
Water to Wine (If you’re LDS – grape juice) - John 2:7-11 - Miracle of the Water to Wine
Water - John 4:6-15 - Jesus at the well , Living Water
Figs - Luke 21:29-31 – Parable of the Fig Tree
Honey - Matthew 3:4 - John the Baptist
Others: Chicken - Matthew 23:37, Corn - Matthew 12:1, Mustard - Matthew 13:31, Wheat (Couscous) - Matthew 3:12 or Matthew 13:25, Grapes - Revelations 14:18.

Other foods mentioned in the scriptures, butter, salt, olive oil, lamb.

More foods eaten during the time of Jesus from that part of the world: Barley, Rye, Millet, Sesame seeds, Dates, Pomegranates, Cantaloupe, Lentils, Peas, Beans, Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Carrots, Cucumbers, Greens, Fish(those with scales and fins), Beef, Eggs, Milk, Butter, Cheese, Yogurt, Nuts, Dill, Cumin, Coriander, Mint, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Saffron, Anise, Parsley.

There are also the foods from the Passover: Unleavened Bread, Haroset, Beitzah, Maror, and Zeroa.

We eat this meal on the floor without utensils. Over the years I’ve collected a boxful of wooden bowls and baskets, a stone pitcher and mugs and linen napkins that we can use for our special dinner. The kids love eating by candlelight as well. I've even gone to the extreme and wood-burned scriptures onto some of the wooden serving spoon handles.

We used to dress up in Nativity clothes but the older boys kind of out-grew that part of the tradition. I even calligraphied a scroll explaining the event and our reasons for celebrating it. Each year we re-read the scroll and remember why and what it is we are celebrating.

How do you Like Abner's food warming source?

During dinner we talk about the moments of Jesus’ life as we pass the corresponding food around our little blanket. After dinner we give one gift to the Savior. The Gift: Everyone writes on a piece of paper one thing that they will do over the next year to draw closer to him. We then save those papers to read the following year when we have the dinner.

It’s our special birthday dinner and my favorite of the year. I grow more touched every year as I see how it affects the kids. They love it too.


Trena Doll said...

I love the way you make things special for your family. There seems to be a real sense of tradition in your home. Congratulations. I don't know how you do it.

Faith said...

It is so, so important to share your faith with your children in a way that makes sense to them so that they can really claim it as their own. I think it is so neat that you have made a tradition out of doing this every year!