I leaned forward a bit to avoid hitting my head on the upper bunk. The prayers had been said, the lights turned off. One song, then he would fall asleep.
“What do you want to sing?”
“Whatever you want.” It was the same every night.
I chose a favorite. Elbow on knee, I began snapping my fingers in a steady rhythm. When you’ve been singing a bedtime song every night for over ten years (counting from the first-born), you find yourself getting creative. I’m no Ella Fitzgerald, but a “jazzed-up” version might alleviate my boredom this night.
This little light of mine (ba-boom-bomp-ba-boom)
I’m gonna let it shine (boom-bomp-ba-boom)
This little light of mine . . .
My mind turned a back flip and I blinked even as my mouth continued the ‘bomp-ba-boom’ing.
“This little light.” This little eight-year-old boy who loved Jesus, who recently cried under the weight of his own sin . . . this young child of the King, who tried his hardest to make God happy . . . He is a Light. How many times had I thought of myself as a light or encouraged other adult believers to “Be Light” wherever they went? Jesus said, You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14). Here was a little light, lying in bed with his eyes closed but smiling, and he was mine for a season: my little light.
“I’m gonna let it him shine.” How could I parent in order to let his Jesus light—small as it was—shine brightly? How could I hold him high (figuratively speaking) so that others were blessed by the light shining through him?
The other verses further challenged me.
“Hide it under a bushel? No.” I could not hide him. When we hide our faith, God gets no glory. Yes, I needed to protect him, but not to the point that his light had no value. How could he learn to burn brightly if I kept him tucked away, out of sight, guarded from everything? In fact, a candle goes out when you put it under a jar or a bowl. I could not smother him under the pretense of protecting him.
“Won’t let Satan blow it out.” It was my job as a parent (still is, actually) to guard against the strong winds of evil that presently rule our world (Ephesians 2:2). Even when you cup your hand around a flame to block the wind, it flickers a little, but it doesn’t get extinguished.
“Let it shine ‘til Jesus comes.” In the years God had given me to raise Him, my primary goal needed to be equipping him to shine brightly—in that present, in this present, and for his future as an adult Christ-follower.
Has God given you one, two, five, a whole menorah of “little lights” to tend for a few years? Remember that a candle burns itself up, sacrifices itself to the light, until it flickers out in a puddle of its own wax. That’s okay. That’s what it was made to do.