Who IS coming to dinner?!.
This story was first published in 1995 in The South Boston Banner. It was later printed in a book of compilations of my columns, Southside Glimmers in 2007. This dinner party of unannounced guests is a great way for kids to learn about people in the Bible and their stories. They have the opportunity to guess who each character is. We often had this event in the fall of the year, when our kids were inundated with Halloween characters and costumes. It helped give a different spin to the season as we contemplated true Heroes of Faith. Try this with your family. It’s fun! 🙂
Our own Heroes of Faith – a Character Guess
“Did you live in the Old Testament or the New Testament?” Benjamin asked his sister. Three-year-old Sarah Beth looked at me for help. She knew the name of the character she was portraying, but she did not know from which part of the Bible she came?
It was dinnertime and the table was set with candles, making the atmosphere more authentic. Each member of the family was costumed as a person from the Bible. Sarah Beth produced a small basket holding a doll. Her brothers quickly guessed she was Moses’ sister.
“No, I’m not! I’m Miriam!” she retorted, not understanding completely.
Jason, who wore a robe, carried a shepherd’ staff and stuffed lamb. He was upset when his brothers said, “He’s easy to figure out. He must be David, the shepherd boy.”
“There were many shepherds in the Bible,” I responded.
“Who was the first shepherd in the Bible?” their father asked, putting a new perspective on our conversation.
“I am one of the shepherds who was watching his sheep when the angels came and told them baby Jesus was born!” Jason answered, proud that none of them had guessed his character.
No one could figure out who Timmy represented. His eyes were blackened, and he wore a wig with long hair. The curved stick covered with foil was second-best to a real animal bone.
“The stick on the table is supposed to be the jawbone of an animal,” I hinted.
“Oh, I get it! He must be Samson!” Jason yelled.
“Right! What did Samson do right, and what did he do wrong?” I questioned the children.
“Samson was a he-man with a she-weakness,” Dave interjected.
“What does that mean, Papa?” Benjamin asked.
So along with dinner, we digested another sort of food as we discussed Samson’s life and death.
Benjamin wore a white sheet.
“Are you an angel?” Timmy asked.
“Tell us where you live.”
“I lived in Bethany, and I had two sisters.”
“Lazarus!” Timmy shouted.
Dave, who sat at the head of the table in a robe, had spots on his skin.
“You must be a leper!” Benjamin guessed.
“Were you one of the ten lepers?” Jason guessed.
“Nope. Guess again.”
“I bet you’re Naaman!” Timmy answered.
Our children were so involved in the characters and the stories behind them that they forgot what they were eating. Now it was my turn.
“You must be either Queen Jezebel or Queen Esther,” Benjamin guessed, eyeing the silver crown on my head.
“I hope she’s not Jezebel or the dogs will eat her!” Timmy chortled.
Occasionally, our family celebrates our spiritual heritage this way. We focus on positive role models found in the Bible. It’s a change of pace. During the fall season, it’s a positive spin during the season when others are celebrating Halloween. It’s something we can do together as a family, and it makes learning and growing fun.
Costumes and Props from your Closets:
- Housecoats or sheets draped across shoulders
- Towels or pillow cases for head gear
- T-shirts for children are just the right size. Tie a belt around the waist
- Crowns: tin foil
- Crown of thorns: thorny branches
- Blood: ketchup
- Leprosy spots: white shoe polish
- Faces or hands: mascara or washable markers
- Shepherd’s staff: cane
- Animals: stuffed animals (bears, sheep)
- Add other items to help identify the character
- a basket for baby Moses
- a basket for the lad with the lunch box: “fish” and “loaves” from construction paper
- wild wheat or straw for characters like Ruth
- a sword for a stick; cover with tin foil; make a point with the foil
- a timbrel for Miriam as an adult
- purple cloth to identify Lydia, a seller of purple
- red rope (scarlet) to identify Rahab
- large nail or spike for Jael [Judges 5]
- a bow for Cain or Esau