I love bedtime with my son. Not because he goes to sleep and mummy gets a break (although that is always nice!), but because I believe it’s a massively important part of the day and one that could so easily be overlooked in the rush to get the lights out. The question is are we using this time to really impact our children or is this just a quick kiss goodnight before we rush downstairs to put the TV on and our feet up.
Our bedtime routine with our son is basically the same every night. After bath and changing he sits in bed drinking some milk, either one or both of us will read Jonas a story of his choice, we then read a Bible story and talk about it. Then we do prayers and then finally songs. The routine hasn’t changed much over the last few years and yet this routine is something I’ll often think and pray about as I believe it is so essential to my son.
With a little man who likes to keep busy in the day and doesn’t have a lot of time for snuggling on his Mummy’s lap but rather charging around, bedtime is a great opportunity for me to actually sit and give him a big cuddle, looking closely into his eyes and being able to tell him how much I love him. It’s a time when we can chat about his day and what he’s enjoyed. These things are really important but it’s also so much more. Bedtime is a great time to really tell my son about Jesus.
We’ve read Jonas a Bible story almost every night without fail since he was about 5 weeks old. This is not simply because reading to our children is important but because the Bible describes itself as ‘living and active’. The words are powerful and by reading them to Jonas we are not only exposing him from an early age to the truth of the Bible but also reading words of power over him.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.
As we read through a story each night we then talk to Jonas about what this means for us. For example, last night we read about how Jesus healed 10 men of a critical illness and yet only one of them went back to thank Jesus. We talked about how Jesus loves it when we stop to thank Him. We then prayed and Jonas said thank you to Jesus for the things he wanted to.
A few months back when we needed some provision we prayed almost every night with our son for God to give us some extra money. So when a cheque came through the post weeks later he was able to share in our excitement as he could really see how much his prayers had changed things.
Bedtime is a time when we can really connect with our children away from the busyness and distractions of the day. It’s a time when they can tell us what made them sad or happy that day and when we can show them how we value what they love by reading stories or singing songs that they choose. But it’s also time when we can speak powerful words over them. I can’t make my son choose to pursue a relationship with Jesus, this is something only he can choose. But I can give him the best possible opportunity by giving him the privilege of knowing from a really young age just how incredible Jesus is.
Some nights I’ll admit the temptation is to rush through this routine because the day has been full on and all I really want is to sit for a bit, but then I remember how important this time is and the potential difference I can make by sharing about God with my son. Lets not overlook this. Bedtime is special and regardless of whether you want to use this time to read the Bible, this is sacred time when you can show your children how loved and valued they are.