Because my husband usually gets only an hour with our boys in the evenings before bedtime hits, we’ve never quite followed the sleep experts’ advice about calming pre-bedtime activities. For a while we tried the bedtime bath but I could never get my act together enough to have dinner ready, children fed, and bath completed before the 7:30 chime of pajama time. Honestly, can people really do that? My kids are much dirtier and much less calm than the average. Also, Chris is a game-making-up expert. Before August was born, he made up games for our cat to play. Here, kitty, shoot yourself up this cardboard tube, then I’ll slide you back down on your back. (I’m not kidding. Our cat is weird. We made him weird.) Now, Chris and August have some pretty awesome games and our cat remains weird, but alone in the other room. (The truth hurts.)
When August was still really tiny (maybe a year and a half ago?) he and Chris started playing “wrestling on the bed,” in which Chris instinctively made the sounds, “Ah! Boom!” over and over. Eventually, August took to calling wrestling with dad the shorter name of “Ahboom” and it has stuck. Every night, after jammies are zipped up, teeth are scrubbed, and Mama is kissed, they rush into August’s bedroom, where they yell “Ahhhhhhhhh! BOOM!” over and over, until I hover outside the door and remind my husband that, yes, it is bedtime and so please stop jumping on the bed.
The other night, they made up a new game called, “King of the bed!” in which one person stands on the bed (or sits, if you’re 6’4”) and says, “I’m the king of this bed and you can’t come on it!”
August said to Chris, “I’m a mean king and you’re a mean king too!”
Then he thought for a little while and said, “Jesus is a good king, Daddy.”
“Yeah, buddy, that’s true,” Chris said.
“And he-he-he’s the good king who saves us.”
When August is thinking, he looks down at the floor, lost in his secret thinking place. You can literally see his brain churning out what he wants to say.
“He saves us from the big lie that’s in our hearts,” our boy said.
Later, when August was snuggled in the dark, Chris came out of his room and repeated his words. My husband's eyes were a bit on the moist side (and he’s not much of a crier). There’s something remarkable about hearing the gospel spoken so eloquently by a little boy who has no idea yet of the power that the “big lie” can have over our hearts (and will have over his heart).
I’ve mentioned before how much I love The Jesus Storybook Bible, how I cry when I read the stories out loud to my boy, how there are times Sally Loyd-Jones’ interpretations of scripture are exactly the thing my insides need to believe about Jesus that day.
But the main reason I love it is that it’s given me a language to talk about the gospel with my almost-three-year-old.
Jesus is our rescuer, the Good King. Sin is the Big Lie that God doesn’t really love us, that he doesn’t really want us to be happy. How often do I live in that lie? How often do I forget that my king isn’t the one who shouts: “I’m mean and you can’t come into my house!”
He’s the Good King who says, “Not only are you welcome here, but I’ll come rescue you and carry you home so you can believe that you are loved (“with a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”)
Thanks August, for reminding us.
(PS If you don’t own The Jesus Storybook Bible yet, stop everything and go order it. You can thank me later.)