Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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HomeWord - Oct. 16, 2008


Building Traditions 
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

Listen, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children.  Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Deuteronomy 6:4-7

We have a bedtime routine for our son.  Each night when we lay him down to sleep, we read him a story, say a prayer with him and then sing “The Goodnight Song.”  I learned this song both when I attended and worked at a summer camp.  To this day, they sing this song each and every night to their campers.  The song holds a special message that I want to pass on to my son. Here are the words:

The time has come for us to say,
That this has been a lovely day. 
And God’s Spirit growing in your heart, 
Won’t be leaving ‘cause the sun goes down… 
So have a good night, my good friend.

Traditions are an important part of family life.  Whether they are silly or serious, they serve as legacy-builders for families.  They can also serve as reminders for our children, and for ourselves, of God’s goodness.  Each night when our son goes to bed, we want him to know that God is with him, God is working in his life and God will always be with him.  I believe this song sends that simple message.  It is one of the ways we try to follow the decree found in Deuteronomy 6.  We want to make talking about God in our home something that is expected, not strange.

As our son gets older, it will become increasingly important to continue this tradition and impress on his heart the importance of following God’s ways.  In the process, I am sure we will create other traditions and ways to talk about God.  Whether it is making sure we get together as an extended family, our special brunch on Christmas morning, prayer before meals or before bedtime, I want to make sure that our son hears the message of loving the Lord with all his heart again and again.  Traditions such as these help to accomplish that goal, and bring our families closer together.

Going Deeper: 

  1. Reflect on this last week in your home:  What are some ways you shared with your children about the Lord? 
  2. What are some traditions you can create that would honor and glorify the Lord? 

Further Reading: 
Deuteronomy 4:10; Psalm 34:11; Ephesians 6:1-4

Kelly McFadden works with HomeWord’s radio broadcast and content teams. She and her husband Michael are the new parents of Campbell McFadden. 

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