Start off your discussion time by asking family members to tell the story up to where you last left off. Why not use a fun way to do this! Watch the first part of our story in this video. (If you are reading this in an email click here to view the video.)
Or use one of these ways to retell the story:
- Begin the story with one sentence such as “Our story starts off with King Xerxes having a big party.” Let each person add one line to the story until you are caught up on the story.
- Pictionary style: Take turns drawing parts of the story (and guessing what is being drawn!) Then put the pictures in story order.
- Tell the story with inaccuracies and let them correct you — especially fun for the younger ones!
Note: Some portions of our story are rather graphic, especially for younger kids. For example, people are hanged or impaled on poles, depending on which version of the Bible you are reading. To be on the safe side, ahead of your family reading time, plan to skim a passage to check out what you may need to adjust in your reading.
|Read in Esther||Talk about or do…|
|4:1-7||What is sackcloth? (A definition). Can you imagine sitting on a heap of ashes? What do you suppose the advantage is of such public display of sorrow? How do you show sadness? Discuss other outward signs of inward conditions? Adults: You’ve heard it said that we need to help our children name their emotions but what about naming our own emotions? Do you ever do that? I’ve learned it’s important to say to myself: Right now, I am doing _____ (frustration or depression or whatever), now what can I do?|
|4:8-11||Does your child’s classroom ever use “talking sticks?” Why does it appear to work?
Name an instance when you feel “unsafe” talking. For me it was speaking up in class as a child! Oh, if I could have imagined someone holding out a gold scepter as a sign of my acceptance! What “gold scepters” do we need to display to others?
|4:8-14||What is Mordecai’s challenge to Esther? Esther was in a pickle. If she went to the king, she could be killed. If she did nothing, her people would be wiped out. Name a stuck sort of situation you once found yourself in, where no matter what you did seemed like trouble.
Focus on the later portion of verse 14: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Sometimes the stories of our lives don’t make much sense. Can you imagine a “such a time as this” situation as an opportunity to serve God? Has such a situation ever occurred? (Adults: This is important sharing time!) How can you remember to think of each “right where you are this minute” situation, as to how you can possibly be Jesus to someone else?
|4:15-17||What is a “fast?” (Refraining from eating food.) Esther’s calling for a fast, was essentially asking all of the Jews to pray for her. Name some situations where prayer has helped you do something hard. How is it helpful to know that others are praying for you?
God used an ordinary woman named Esther to save his people (who happened to be Jesus’ ancestors!) Do you suppose that God could use you to do something special? How does it change your life to know that God has something special planned for you to do?
|chapter 5||Whew! King Xerxes held out his scepter to Esther! Esther chose to have faith in God and to take her chance at approaching the King. Discuss the athletic shoe company’s campaign to: “Just Do It.” How does such a saying apply to this story? Are the happenings in this story, and in our lives, coincidences or the special workings of God? (Room for lots of debate!)?|
|chp 6||Ah, the book of records comes into play! Who did Haman think that the king was talking about when he asked, “What should I do…?” How did this make Haman feel to have to do all of these lavish things for Mordecai? (verse 12) How can thinking of ourselves as better than others, get us into trouble? What is one thing you can do to help you amend this sort of character trait in yourself?|
|chp 7||This is a good time to play a game or two of “Hangman” using names or phrases from the story. For older children: How can you seek justice in a situation where you currently see injustice? What can you do if justice is not served?|
|chp 8||God provides not only for Esther and Mordecai, but for all of the Jewish people. How do the people respond? (They rejoice!) In what ways can our response to God be rejoicing? Have you ever thought of going into worship with an attitude of rejoicing?|
|9:20-10:3||(Note to adults: skipping all of the killing!) What is something that your family can commemorate and celebrate (beyond the typical birthday and graduation)? How about the day you were baptized? Or is there something that God has done for you that you would like to remember? What are some ways you could celebrate it?|
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