Every night, when his story's finished, I light John's advent candle and turn off the light.
For a moment, there is nothing but blackness as I snuggle back under the covers with my boy, and then a hush comes over the room as we see the angels circling on the ceiling.
Silently, nestled close together, we watch the spectacle unfold; the flickering flame, the twirling windmill, the tiny silver angels spinning through space and the shadows dancing about the walls.
"Let's put our hands together," I whisper, and John sits with his palms pressed tightly together, waiting for my prayer.
For a moment, I say nothing, unsure how to begin, and then thankfulness drops from my lips in a simple list of gratitude. The words are simple. The sentences are few. But it feels uncomplicated and true and real.
And even though I've never fully understood the hows and whys of prayer, in those quiet moments beside my boy something intangible is touched upon, and when we've both said "Amen" and I've opened up my eyes, I'm no longer sure whether the patterns circling on the ceiling are just shadows from the candle or the feathery tips of angel wings after all.