Finally, at long last, we were dressed and in one piece! Our costumes are based on research on actual Egyptian garments from around 1400BC. I designed the fabric wrapping and the kids made the collars and belt. Details on that later. We each came up with our own interpretations and wrote our own monologues, based on all the knowledge we acquired from the books in the above photo!
We opened our program upstairs at the piano, I mean "Egyptian stringed instrument". First we lit the candles, which were used throughout the entire unit celebration. Then I played a Hebrew song, "Alleluia Adonai." This became the theme of my interpretation.
After we sang through the song twice, I stood up and began my interpretation.
Adonai. Lord. The one true God. Do you know Him? Have you met Him? We did. He so changed our lives that we were compelled to follow the Hebrews on their Exodus from Egypt. Our story is obscure. Moses recorded in Exodus 12:38 "Many other people went up with them..." Come hear our story. Follow us to our ancient civilization of Egypt.
Then we picked up our candles (my daughter has some trouble managing a candle while being in costume, so she didn't carry one. If you do this, please be careful with kids and candles.) and journeyed down the stairwell, into the basement, through the stage curtains, into Ancient Egypt. We set our candles on the coffee table and I resumed my interpretation.
What is civilization? How did it begin? Where did the orgins of man begin? We thought we knew the stories from our gods. However Moses has taught us the true story. let me tell you.
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..."
It is said that the earth was one land mass with a great sea. When sin took over the earth, God put Noah and his family on an ark to protect them during a horrific world wide flood. The "springs of the deep burst forth and the floodgates of the heavens were opened" (Gen 7:11) for 40 days and nights. This was no gentle rain. The fury of the water was horrific, gouging out the land. Earthquakes rumbled from within the earth. Volcanoes exploded with fury. God's judgment was evident. After the deluge, after the waters receded, the land was transformed. The land had torn apart and now were many. God, the original architect, created intruiguing land features. Mountains climbed to the sky, canyons dug into the earth, waterfalls roared down mountain walls...mighty rivers gave life.
Civilizations rose near these rivers...one from whom the Hebrews' forefather, Abraham, came...Mesopotamia in the Fertile Crescent, a bountiful region bounded by the mighty Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Here man, the mortal architect, created towering edifices to their gods. The one true God cast judgment upon the peoples, confusing their languages, causing them to scatter.
Many left the fertile region, crossing the desert to find another fertile area to survive. My ancestors found another mighty river, the Nile. They discovered that it floods every year. Amazingly, instead of bringing destruction, it brought life. Any land the flood touches becomes fertile. We count on that inundation every year. We have built our entire civilization around it. The Nile is truely a gift, without which we would die. Because our very lives depended on this river, we came to worship it. We are powerful because of the Nile. Our enemies cannot reach us. There are too many obstacles. They must cross a parched desert which means certain death. If they attempt to reach us on the Nile from the south, the cataracts will impede their progress, as would arriving from the Mediterranean through the delta in the north. Impeded progress means our army has time to attack and conquer. We were invincible! Or so we thought.
We also worshipped our pharoah, who we've been taught is the sun god. He brings light and life. He protects us and brings the yearly inundations. Pharoah is powerful. Or so we thought, until Moses, once Prince of Egypt, began to speak for the God of the Hebrews. His God brought ten devasting plagues on our land. The first one turned the Nile to blood. Then frogs, the god of fertility, overtook the land. Darkness descended on the land. Our first borns died. All of our gods were proven futile. With each plague, my faith in Egyptian gods grew less, while my faith in the Hebrew God grew strong. I told Moses that his God was my God. I asked if I could follow the Hebrews out of the land of Egypt. His people made room for me.
That led directly into a verbal interchange between me and the kids, using information from our devotions.
Me: Who is God?
Daughter: Elohim. In the Hebrew language, El means mighty or strong. Him is plural for three or more. Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning, God (the three in one) created the heavens and the earth."
Me: Who is God?
Son: El Elyon, God Most High. Gen 14:20 "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth."
Me: Who is God?
Daughter: El Roi, the God Who Sees. Gen 16:13 "She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her, 'You are the God who seems me.'"
Me: Who is God?
Son: El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One. Gen 17:1-2 "When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appearedd to him and said, 'I am God Almighty, walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers."
Me: Who is God?
Daughter: Adonai, Sovereign Lord, to whom we must bow the knee. Gen 15:2 "But Abram said, 'O Sovereign Lord..."
Me: Who is God?
Son: Jehovah, to be, permanent existence. Ex 3:14-15 "God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you." God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob-has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.'"
Then my daughter began her monologue. She wrote this herself and I gave her some ideas on using the basket. She decided to portray the Egyptian mother of Moses.
I have tried to insert video but to no avail. This new blogging platform obviously does not support it. It's really a shame because the flow of the gown on my daughter was beautiful as she did a memorized interpretation as the Egyptian mother of Moses.
Then she answered questions from my husband.
Then my son did his interpretation. He had decided to be a master architect for Egypt. Here are the architectual plans he had to abandon because of the bad economy from the ten plagues!
Again, after hours of trying, this blogging platform does not support video. It's a shame, because my son lived and breathed his part. Oh well. I know that it's the grandparents who want the videos so I'll upload them to disc. My kids worked from outlines (IEW KWO) so I cannot post their words here. However they did a great job assimilating all the content they learned into a first person interpretation.
Then he answered my husband's questions.
Each of our interpretations told how the plagues convinced us that we needed to turn to the one true God. Back in character, I transitioned us to the next part of our journey: We followed the Hebrews on the Exodus from Egypt. We journeyed to Mount Sinai where Moses received the law from God, which required obedience to the Holy One. While there he also received direction on how the Hebrews were to celebrate the various Feasts. Come, join us in the Sinai Desert to learn about these feasts. However I must warn you that after we set out to enter the Promised Land, there was distrust among most of the spies, causing the people to doubt that God could safely lead them in to their new home. As a result, we are wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Information about the feasts are scattered throughout the "desert." It will be up to you (my husband) to find them. In the meantime we'll undoubtedly wander and be led astray. (Which would recreate the 40 years wandering through the desert.) We took up our candles, and went upstairs to the desert. After a bit of wandering, he found the first stop.
(Touring with the candles gave incredible atmostphere whereas the wandering through the "desert" to find and experience each of the feasts helped us to apply the concepts. I'm going to try to incorporate this type of thing to more unit celebrations. My husband really enjoyed it and engaged him more. We enjoyed it too! I took the photos before our unit celebration and my camera doesn't always "see" in the dark. But trust me, the atmosphere was definitely there. )
Sabbath/Shabbot-We set our candles down. Sabbath is celebrated weekly, from Friday sunset to Sat sunset, which comes from the reference for "day" in Genesis 1, "and there was evening and morning, one day." The Hebrew significance is to have a day of rest for all. My daughter read Gen 2:2-3. My son explained how "we" ate manna, how we could only collect as much as we needed, yet we were to collect double in preparation for Sabbath. Since we had to eat all there was and have no left overs, there were 4 pieces of pita bread covered in honey (to represent manna). After we ate it, my husband asked if manna was really that crispy. My son piped up and said if it was roasted! I found my moment to say what I've been wanting to incorporate. As the Egyptian I said, "I helped write what you would call a cookbook titled: 101 Ways to Cook Manna and Quail" My husband loved it!
Passover/Pesach-A spring feast, I explained the Hebrew calendar system which was different from what my husband was familiar with. The Hebrew significance was to remember the original Passover, when the death angel passed over the Hebrew homes in the tenth plague. My son read Ex 12:1-14. The Messianic significance is that Yeshua, the Passover Lamb, was crucified on Passover, to atone for sin. The display was of a typical Passover Seder, which my son explained, a bone from the lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs.
Feast of Unleavened Bread/Chag HaMatzah-Celebrated in the spring, the Hebrew significance was to remember when the Hebrews left Egypt in haste, before their bread could rise. Also leaven represents sin in the Bible. My daughter read Ex 12:17-20. The Messianic Significance was Yeshua's burial; He was sinless. The display was unleavened bread. The kids explained what the markings on the Matzo cracker represented.
Feast of Firstfruits/Ha Bikkurim-Another spring festival, the Hebrew significance was that they would wave the barley firstfruit offerings to recognize God's bounty. They did not use their crop until this was done. It taught their farmers that their crops belonged to God. My son read Ex 23:9-14. The Messianic significance was Resurrection Day! Yeshua presented Himself to God as the firstfruits from the dead. My daughter read I Cor 15:20-23. I found a bundle of grain at the craft store that looks like barley!
Feast of Weeks/Shavuot-Another spring feast, the Hebrew significance was that this was a harvest festival honoring God with Thanksgiving as opposed to pagan religions honoring nature with child sacrifices and orgies. My son read Lev 23:15-21. The Messianic significance was that this was fulfilled on Pentacost (a Greek word) when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples. Acts 2 The display is of flowers and pot pourri to represent the Ten Commandments, which according to the Hebrews, fill the world with fragrance. During these feast days, dairy food is enjoyed to represent the land flowing with milk and honey.
Feast of Trumpets/Rosh HoShanah-A fall festival, the Hebrew significance was that this was originally set aside as a day of rest, for getting right with God. Trumpets were blown with staccato notes, to represent the need to break away from sin. My daughter read Lev 23:23-25. With the fall of the temple in 70AD, it has been redesigned to be the New Year. Ancient peoples often celebrated the new year in the autumn. The Messianic significance is the return of Christ. My son read I Thess 4:16-17. The display included a shofar my son made 4 years ago. Also we followed the Hebrew custom and ate apple slices dipped in honey and said, "Be it Thy will that a good and sweet year be renewed upon us."
Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement-Another fall feast, the Hebrew significance was a time of cleansing for priests, the people and the Holy Place. My daughter read Lev 23:26-32. The Messianic significance is the future judgment day when Yeshua intercedes for us. On the day of His death, at the moment the High Priest killed the sacrifice, the curtain in the temple tore in two, to represent that Yeshua was the final sacrifice for Yom Kippur. My son read Matt 27:50-51. Our display was an empty basket, because this was time of fasting, not only from food but also from things like fragrances, vehicles, work, etc.
Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot-A fall festival, the Hebrew significance is a week of celebration to recall 40 years in tents and the annual crop harvest. My daughter read Lev 23:33-43. The Messianic significance is the future when God tabernacles with us. My son read Rev 21:3. The display should be branches and vines in the form of a temporary shelter. Our trees are too little to prune! Also pruning this time of year could kill the trees. (We had our first frost last night.) We used our canopied table on the deck to represent the shelter. Often these shelters had a harvest display. This is thought to be the precursor to our Thanksgiving. I would have loved to have dinner out here to end the unit celebration, but it was too cold for us Egyptians!
I decided to bring the outdoors in, with the idea of this temporary shelter made of branches and vines and overhead openings peaking at the stars in the sky. I put flowers in my chandelier. The previous homeowners stenciled flowers on the ceiling. I meant to ask my husband to string our white Christmas lights on the ceiling to be stars, but I forgot. I made beeswax candles, super easy! The kids were going to help but my daughter was busy in the kitchen and my son was busy with his belt, so I whipped these out in about 5 minutes so we could finally get dressed! Candles are used all the time in these Hebrew feasts. I thought beeswax were a natural element the Hebrews could have done in the ancient days. I read they are supposed to smell like honey but I didn't notice that. I'll detail how I made them in a future post.
Our menu included something representative from each of the feasts, in a modern menu. We always pass by the Kosher aisle but aren't always familiar with the feast foods. I'll detail more on this later.
- Sabbath-Challah bread
- Passover-Matzo Ball soup and charoset
- Feast of Weeks-Cheesecake
- Feast of Tabernacles-Stuffed green peppers with barley, filled pastries
My son decided to use the collars as part of the table decoration. I put our feast books on the table for reference for all the questions my husband was asking about which foods went with each feast, etc.