Yes I know this post is late, I was hoping to run it in the week running up to shavout so that you could enjoy the celebration too, even if you've never heard of it, but I forgot. Sorry about that, but you could always enjoy it next year?
Shavout is a time when the Jewish people celebrate the giving of the Torah. It is also the date of the birth of the church and the time when the first christians recieved the Holy Spirit. What gifts! The Word of God, followed by the Spirit of God. It really is a time to be celebrated.
Obviously you are welcome to celebrate in anyway you choose, but I thought I'd share how our family celebrates to give you some ideas.
Firstly I plan a special meal. It's traditional to eat plenty of dairy as milk is all the nutrition a new born needs. Likewise, we are God's children, and his word contains all we need.
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
1 Peter 2:1-3
We always eat tagliatelle with cream cheese and chive melted over it, tossed with chopped mixed peppers. I know it sounds boring to eat the same thing every year, but it's only once a year, not every week, and it means I don't have to think about shopping/cooking too much. No-one complains about having roast turkey again at christmas, right?
We also try to serve lots of sweet things, a strawberry and lime smoothie with plenty of honey always goes down well (blend a punnet of strawberries with the juice of a lime, two cups of water and add honey to taste).
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
It's traditional for Jewish families to read the book of Ruth on Shavout. I love this, because I bet they have no idea why. I'm told it's because it's a story about lovingkindness. I'm not really sure what that has to do with the festival, but I do know something else; Ruth's story is a story of a gentile bride being redeemed and counted as God's people. It's a beautiful love story, but more importantly a picture of Christ and the church. There's a great study on this here. What story is more fitting to celebrate the day that God gave His Spirit to His gentile bride, the church?
The final tradition is to read each other stories from the bible for as long as we can stay awake. Staying up all night reading God's Word is a rare and beautiful time to spend with family. This is where homeschooling comes into it's own, because we all get to have a lie in the next day!
It was so precious to hear Will helping Matt tell the story of the 'ten rules' that Moses was given (another great passage to read on this night). It's also worth having plenty of snacks ready for your late night to sustain everybody. Cheesecake is a good option (more dairy) as is ice cream and anything else sweet. I found candy letters this year. Great for spelling out 'sweet words'.
So if you don't already celebrate Shavout, think about it. It really is one of my favourite biblical feasts.