Putting Clara to bed is one of Alycia’s responsibilities. I would be more than happy to put Clara to bed, but that’s one of the few times during the day that Alycia gets to spend with her. I’m at home with Clara more than Alycia, so bedtime is their special time together.
Last night, though, Alycia had to be at school late, which meant that I got bedtime duties. Clara has a routine that includes getting a bottle, brushing her teeth and reading some books. Clara loves reading books and will even happily sit in her crib on her own “reading” a book. On the occasions that I’ve put Clara to bed, though, I forgo the book for story time.
Instead of sitting in a chair and reading a book together, I like to hold her in my arms and tell her a story from the Bible. In the past I’ve told Clara about David and Goliath, Esther and Noah. I love the Bible and all of the stories contained within it. Granted, some are more appropriate than others for children, but for the most part those are the stories I want to pass on to Clara. Don’t get me wrong, I also want to pass on stories about Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Steve Rogers and Jean-Luc Picard. But if I wanted her to hear a story over and over again, if I wanted her to live a story out, it would be the story of God.
God understands the importance of stories. As his people were getting ready to leave Egypt, God told his people to keep telling the story of what he did. He wanted their children and grandchildren to know everything that he had done in Egypt. He wanted them to know about the power he displayed to the Egyptians and the mercy he showed to the Israelites. This was the story of a powerful God showing his eternal love, and that’s a story worth telling.
That’s the story I want to tell to Clara, but I can’t just tell that story at bedtime. That needs to be a story that she sees lived out in my life on a daily basis. I can’t just tell her about a powerful God and his eternal love; she needs to see that God and his love impacting my life on a daily basis.
And really, whether we have kids or not, that’s the story we need to live out. I’ve seen so many of my non-Christian friends upset over what they see in followers of Jesus. As a follower of Jesus I too am upset by what I see in my fellow Christians. Instead of living a story of life-altering love and grace, we’re living a story marked by anger, fear and nationalism. I don’t want Clara growing up with that story, regardless of how loudly or often it’s being told in the world.
The stories we tell are important, but we also need to live out those stories. God’s story is one of love, grace, mercy and truth. If I want Clara to live out that story, then I need to live it out as well. If we want that story to be told in the world around us, then we need to be the ones telling it.
How do you live out God’s story of love, grace, mercy and truth?