Jesus Loves Me

by

It’s the same every night. It’s been the same every night for as long as he’s been born. And perhaps before that.

 

We gather together as a family for bathtime, brushing teeth, stories, and getting ready for bed. We’ve laughed and chased one another. We’ve had dinner, washed the table and dishes, and cleaned up the spilled food. The kids rile each other up. The dog joins in the excitement, everyone bumping into one another. We race to the bathroom. The preschooler running past the door and waving her pajamas around. The baby trying to keep up with her. Each of them getting into drawers and cabinets. Some nights it feels like a marathon (and a miracle) getting everything done before the kids’ heads hit their beds.

 

But it always ends the same way for my baby and I. After the stories have been read. After the prayers said. After the blessings on their heads. After kissing his sister goodnight. It’s just him and I. My baby boy and I.

 

I turn the lights off. His noise machine comes on. I hold him in my arms. And I begin to sing to him:

Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so.   

 

As the words cover him, as my love and prayers wrap around him and his face nuzzles into my neck, he begins to suck his thumb. The song becomes a signal to him that it’s time to rest. That the day is done and all that’s left is to feel the arms of his mama wrapped around him.

 

I continue singing and feel his breath slow. I feel the weight of his body. I hold him as tight as I can . Never wanting to let go. Never wanting this moment to pass.

 

It’s the same every night.

 

There in the darkness and stillness of the night, with the earlier sounds of laughter and cheers still in our hearts, I feel the power in the moment. The beauty of hearing words of love spoken over my child. The hope of knowing those same words are for me, too. Recently I’ve taken to singing Jesus Loves Me at other times during the day. If he needs to be calmer or if he’s upset, I’ll grab him in my arms and begin to sing.

 

Jesus loves me this I know.  

 

No matter where we are or what else is going on around us, when he hears those words and my voice, when he feels my arms wrap around him, he begins to calm down. He sucks his thumb. He nuzzles his head under my chin.

 

The song takes him to a place where he knows he’s safe. Where he’s known and loved. Where there is nothing else for him to do but to be held. And there’s nothing else for me to do but speak that reminder for him.

 

Offering him a blessing of love. Jesus loves me this I know.

 

I believe it’s in the power of the song itself and the words proclaiming Jesus’ love that help my son relax into me every single time. But more than that I believe that it’s in the power of my holding him and declaring God’s love for him. It’s the power of a love that transcends all barriers and boundaries. It’s the power of a love that came into the world as a baby.

 

The power of God’s love through Jesus holding us always and singing to us of unending love.

 

It’s the same every night.  

 

Jesus loves me this I know.

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: http://kimberlyknowlezeller.com or follow her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyKnowleZeller/

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