“Mama, sleep with me,” Charlotte calls to me from her bed. Away from the lights of our dining room and the Christmas tree my hands need to search along the bedroom wall to turn on the light. I slide my slippers off and place my glasses on her dresser. On these December nights, the sun set hours ago.
Charlotte’s head pops out from under her blanket and I lay down next to her pulling the covers over my body. We talk about the day, our favorite parts, things that made us sad, the plans for tomorrow, and what I’ll do while she sleeps. She keeps talking between bursts of energy practicing math problems. “Shh,” I rub her back. “It’s time to sleep.”
After a few minutes I hear her breath begin to steady and her body feel still next to mine. I take my own deep breaths giving thanks for my daughter and the day we shared. I pray for her school, teachers, and friends. I marvel that this moment is mine to experience. Sliding out of bed I move as slowly as possible but the bed squeaks and the floor creaks under my feet. Charlotte rustles a bit. There’s no light and I reach my hands forward to search for her dresser. At the door my hand crawls across her books and trinkets grasping for my glasses. I only want to get out of her room before she wakes, but I can’t see in the dark.
My frustration rises when I can’t find my glasses and I’ve inadvertently kicked my slippers away from me. If only it wasn’t so dark. I take a breath and realize there’s no hurry. Pausing in the room I wonder if this is one of the lessons the darkness is teaching me – to slow down. To trust what’s before me. To remember that even in the darkness, I’m not alone.
In this Christmas season –
look to the light of Christ
may we all take a moment to pause
to breathe and give thanks
to settle into the darkness, slowly
savoring what’s before us
and trusting that
we’re never alone.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website, follow her work on Facebook, or sign up for her monthly newsletter.