One of my favorite wedding presents was Noel Piper’s Treasuring God in Our Traditions, a little book all about how we can use family traditions to help us and our kids think about glorifying God in every aspect of our lives. One of the most exciting ideas for me was the Piper family’s practice of selecting a hymn for each of their children. We’ve shamelessly appropriated this tradition for our kids! While we sing all sorts of hymns, songs, and lullabies to our kids, each one has a special hymn that we sang every night while we put them to sleep as babies, repeated over and over while rocking them in the middle of the night, and sang with our church at their dedications.
For our oldest, we picked “O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus,” largely because I’d been struck by its beauty when some classmates performed it at our church in college. My husband and I love the emphasis on God’s love–what a beautiful message to sing over and over to our precious new baby!
I miscarried between T and E, and since then, we’ve been so much more aware of the gift of a healthy baby. I’ve always loved the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and it seemed appropriate to acknowledge the incredible blessings God has given us, not only of E’s life, but of God’s grace and our salvation and hope!
Our third kiddo is partially named after Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley (one of our favorite hymn writers!), so we knew we needed her hymn to be a Wesley one. And we love “O, For A Thousand Tongues To Sing.” When we picked this one, we didn’t know that she was going to be our fiesty child, but the exuberant melody and message certainly fit her personality. You should hear her belt it out!
Baby J’s name means “God is gracious,” so we picked my husband’s favorite hymn, “Amazing Grace,” for her. Bonus: everyone already knew all the verses, because we’d learned it while going through Hymns for a Kid’s Heart as a family. All five of us can sing it to her!
While these are the hymns we’ve picked for the kids, they’ve each come to love other special ones on their own. Maybe I’ll share their personal favorites another day.
Did you grow up singing hymns with your family? What special songs do you sing to your kids?