Gifts & Graces: December 2022

Gifts & Graces

Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.


Here’s my random gratitude collection of mostly small but sometimes large things that helped make December better.

Photo by Todd Trapani on

The First Snowfall. It seems late this year (although I’m notoriously bad at remembering previous years’ weather), but we finally had our first snowfall in mid-December. The first snow is always different. I’m not yet worn down by scraping the car’s windows in the dark when I go to the gym, driving on treacherous roads, or feeling like I’m on an endless arctic trek when I take the dog out for a walk. Instead, the first snow makes my world sparkle with magic. It covers up the remaining dead leaves I never got to rake and makes the bare, lonely trees look majestic and glittery rather than desolate. It even makes the stars sparkle a bit brighter at night.

Photo by Ellie Burgin on

Christmas Lights. Although we don’t put up outdoor Christmas lights, I pay close attention to what appears in my neighborhood. I happily anticipate the first set of lights appearing because that signals to me that Christmas is coming soon! It makes the final dog walk of the day (when I have to leave behind the comfort of wearing my toasty slippers and being wrapped in a blanket on the couch) a little less jarring. My reward for pulling on boots, hat, scarf, and puffy jacket is that we get to walk past hundreds of colored little lights that brighten our way and make winter’s cold, dark nights less overwhelming.

Amaryllis Flowers. My grandfather used to grow amaryllis, so I have a sentimental attachment to them. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I fully started to appreciate these fantastic flowers. One brown, dormant bulb placed in soil and given a modest amount of light and water creates an amazing spectacle. The stalks grow so fast that I swear you can see them getting taller as you watch. The flowers I saw as a child were either white or red, but now there’s an array of different colored flowers. And they are just what I need in the house during the long dark days of December.

This will be my only blog post for January. I’m going to take a break from writing to do some website changes and plan for future posts in 2023.

A closing prayer

Dear God, please help me pay attention to the many gifts and graces that you bring to my life. Let me gratefully acknowledge the people and things that fill my days with joys that range from small comforts to immense love. And thank you, God, for being with me each day. I am humbled and inspired by how Your Spirit works through the actions of so many people. Amen.


  1. Such a touching post, Tacky. Seeing the Christmas lights thru your eyes changed my usual perception of “What a PITA to have to take them down in January” to something beautiful and almost magical (almost….the lights still need to come down). Thank you for your insights. Your blog is truly a gift. May January rejuvenate you and restore your spirit.


    1. I think part of what makes them magical for me is that I don’t have the aggravation of putting them up and taking them down! I just get pure enjoyment (but, of course, if everyone were like me, there would be NO lights and magic). Our compromise is lights around the deck that stay up year-round. They don’t have to go up and come down, and they are always there to light my way on early morning trips out to the gym and evening dog walks.


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