"Mommy? My tummy hurts." My bleary eyes try to focus in the midnight darkness. I pull the sheets aside and let the little one climb in. She melts back into slumber. It's a fitful slumber, so I eventually bring her back to her own bed. A glance at the clock tells me it's almost time to get up anyway. I sigh and pad downstairs to put the kettle on.
My eyes continue to adjust to the breaking dawn. By the time my tea is ready, I'm able to focus. I open to the Old Testament. I'm in Leviticus. My mind is trying to make sense of the offerings and sacrifices and regulations, the anointing and consecration and presentation.
It seems old and foreign and strange. I don't know where it fits. What do I do with it?
And then I come to Leviticus 6:12-13.
The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering . . . . The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.
One thing is clear. The fire must not go out. It must not. And how does the fire remain? Every morning, fuel must be added. It must be tended, that it may remain throughout the night and continue right on through the morning.
Throughout the long nights that bring a little one to the bedside, throughout the mornings that require extra energy to greet the sunrise.
When the fire is tended, there is warmth, there is vitality, there is life.
When the fire is tended, mama can tend.
She can sit, she can focus. She can live a life of simple beauty. She can be still.
And this is her offering.