Our post-Christian culture lacks heroes. I hope that by celebrating the great women of the Bible and the church on their commemoration days will provide my daughter with a cloud of witnesses and timeless kinship with these fallen and redeemed role models.
Celebrating Esther's day is one of our very favorites of the year because remembering Queen Esther begs for a spa day complete with playing dress up like a royal queen!
Esther prepared for King Ahasuerus with six months of beautification, including cosmetics and skin softening treatments using oil and spices. Our take is a simple sugar scrub made by whisking together white sugar and olive oil. It's also fun to stir in some vanilla or herbs, such as dried lavender. The sugar scrub works to exfoliate and as a moisturizer. We just play with it in the bath tub, gently rubbing it on arms and legs as I tell the Esther story, and then rinse it off in a warm shower.
What is a spa day without cucumbers for the eyes? Adelae, here only 3, was sceptical at first!Soon she found it great fun, and the most memorable part of the day!
After beautification, it is time to dress like a queen, and Adelae is the queen of dress up! She is obsessed with Snow White and Cinderella. I'm not completely anti-Disney princesses, in fact I'm currently writing a piece about the outstanding Gospel connections hidden in many of the fairy tales, but the Queen Esther alternative provides a real story of great richness. Cinderella teaches us to be moony; she's saved by a bibity bobity fairy godmother. Esther displays bravery and is saved by God's mercy!
A few other fun ways to celebrate Esther's day is to read the text, straight from the Bible, not a baby Bible, as your little one is ready to take a nap. When the King in the story couldn't sleep, he was read to, and it turned out to be the turning point in Esther's story!
Another idea, and we are likely going to save this one for a year or two because it's fun for little boys too, is to make noise makers. When the Jewish people celebrate Purim and read the Book of Esther, they use noise makers, like boos and hisses, to drown out the name of Haman, the story's villain.
Purim celebrations are also my inspiration for our annual Esther lunch. Cookies, called Hamenstashen, or Haman's Ears, are made in Jewish homes for Purim. Instead, we made little triangular sandwiches that look like the Purim cookie. To make the sandwich, or the cookie, you must start with a circle. A warmed tortilla would work beautifully, but last year we happened to have some soft white bread. Adelae rolled it flat, and I used scissors to cut it into a circle.
Spread your favorite sandwich filling on the tortilla or bread and fold up three sides to form a triangle. Fruit fillings are traditional for making Hamentashen, so last year we made peanut butter and jelly. Maybe this year we'll try beans and cheese on a corn tortilla, or hummus on flat bread with red pepper strips on the side.
As a former resident of Esther Dorm at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, I can tell you - there is no God in Esther! While not mentioned by name in the book of Esther, the story reveals how God was working to preserve His people and the line of Christ. The trinitarian shape of these sandwiches serves as a reminder that our triune God is ever present and working in the lives of His people, even when He is hidden.