Family devotionals are a great way to expose your children to God’s Word at home. Even if you use a devotional book or read from scripture and pray, it’s often difficult to find a consistent time to have them regularly. Why not shake things up a bit and have family devotional theme dinners?
Family dinners are a great way to bond as a family and have another chance to have an impact on the lives of your kids. Even secular studies show having dinner together regularly has all sorts of positive outcomes for the children. So why not kick it up a notch and make dinners your time for family devotionals?
Fall is a great time for a devotional on Jacob and Esau and the time Esau sold his birthright for some lentil stew. Here is a recipe for lentil stew that also includes some information about food in Bible times. Personally, I would omit the sumac and hyssop and go light on the cumin to make sure your children will enjoy eating it. Add some rustic whole grain breads and you have a healthy, hearty supper. While you are eating, tell your children the Bible story.
After the story, spend time talking about what can happen when we speak and/or act before thinking it all the way through. Esau was only concerned about his hunger and didn’t think about all of the possible consequences of selling his birthright for a bowl of stew. Want extra bonding and training to happen? Have your kids help you make the stew. Stew recipes are great because there are numerous tasks for almost any age child to do to help. While you are cooking, you can also talk about things like serving others with food or share childhood memories of cooking with parents or grandparents and the lessons they taught you about God.
Other Bible stories have obvious food ties, too. Think about Jesus feeding the five thousand and have a meal featuring bread and fish. Learning about the spies in Canaan? Grapes could be a part of the menu. Esther threw a dinner party for Xerxes and Haman. A little research can help you learn what would have been eaten during the Persian Empire. Studying the Jewish holidays will also introduce most children to new foods while they learn how those holidays pointed to Jesus.
Of course, not every Bible story features specific foods. For those, you can serve foods popular during the time period of the story. They ate lots of fruits like dates and figs, rustic whole grain breads, fish, etc. There are even websites and cookbooks dedicated to the topic if you want other ideas for recipes. You can also consider serving foods that would somehow remind you of the story. Let your kids help you plan the menu by looking at the story ahead of time. Eventually, you can have them plan the entire devotional.
Have fun with it. You will be creating wonderful warm memories of family dinners and they will have the added benefit of reminding your kids of the Bible lessons shared as part of the meal. It’s a great new habit to start now.