There is something about bedtime stories that can last a lifetime. It has been almost a lifetime ago since someone told me a bedtime story. But I still remember the sense of safety, of love tucking me into bed even as the covers were tucked around me.
I have a few images of my mom, sitting on the edge of my bed that was in an alcove under one of the dormers in our newly finished attic. The story of my father finishing said attic in time for my arrival is a story for another day.
I always got one story from a book. My favorite was a Little Golden Book edition of Mighty Mouse. In hindsight, that tiny mouse whose song was, “Here I come to save the day! Mighty Mouse is on the way,” was the perfect message for me. I was a little peanut of a child, and the message that even small creatures can make a difference has been formative in my life.
After the story, we would say a prayer. And back in that day it was always, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” The implication of the second sentence didn’t sink in until years later! Yikes! It was terrifying and hopeful at the same time.
After the prayer, mom would pull up the covers, give me a kiss on the forehead, turn off the bedside lamp, and before going back downstairs, would do two things I always requested. First, I would always ask her to check that there were no monsters in the closet, which she faithfully did. And second, I would ask her to leave the light on in the stairwell, which she also faithfully did. The next thing I’d know, it was evening. Then it was morning.
It was a helpful routine, a good story, a prayer, some love and affection, and support for the fears that were very real in my three-year-old soul. I wonder what Jesus’ bedtime routine was. Did Mary tell him stories about his ancestor David, the boy who slayed the giant with a sling shot? Did she tell him about the night he was born? Did she sing some version of a lullaby, perhaps Away in a Manger?
All this reflection about bedtime comes from a YouTube video my best childhood friend told me about a few days ago. If you don’t do anything else today, please watch it. It is called The Great Realisation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw5KQMXDiM4. It will warm your heart, give you hope, and perhaps open a door to your own memories as well. If it does, share the link, and one of your stories with someone else, and think about the bedtime story you want to pass on about this season in our lives.
Sleep tight, surrounded by the love of God, tonight. ~ Anne