Gratitude we practice. Grace we are given.
Sometime it appears when bidden. Sometimes it appears when it seems all is lost. And plenty of times, grace arrives on our doorstep even when we thought we had no use for it.
We can be thankful for grace — and so many other things — as we head into this first week of the holiday season and prepare to sit down with our families (chosen or otherwise) and have the luxury of quibbling over who forgot buy the extra tube of rolls and who has to clean all the dishes, amid the plenty that surrounds us.
But before we get to all that hubbub, the chaos and indulgence of our feasts, before we say grace at the Thanksgiving table, let us dwell on the very idea of grace and try to conjure this untouchable sensation that can lace the most quotidian of exchanges with the poignant call to: Stop. Breathe. Pay Attention. Feel the tingle of something you can’t quite explain run up your spine and alight on your scalp. Feel your heart skip a beat or add a few extra as your skin comes alive in gooseflesh.
And you know — you know — that something important just passed through you, even if you don’t quite know how to describe it.
Fortunately, there are writers who can describe grace in innumerable ways. We count on them to bring it alive for us, especially in the moments in our lives — and in our world — when grace seems to be in short supply.
- Amy Barr tells us about the power hidden in a tiny stuffed giraffe
- Penny Wrenn emphasizes the importance of not living tomorrow before it comes
- Annette Earling describes what the slow decline of grace feels like
- Diane DeCostanzo utters daily grace to Whomever May Be Listening
- Laurie White comes to her breaking point and makes a change
- And we meet a very special gift of one daughter named Grace
One Thanksgiving, when I was still new to being a single mother — and the ache still hit me hard on the holidays — my son and I walked down the street of our Brooklyn neighborhood to head to the store before it closed for a fresh baguette. It was early, early morning, and there were no people scurrying about, the streets cloaked in the holiday hush.
As our breath puffed out in little clouds, I told Zack to look for things he could not see when the street was full of people. “Look, a gargoyle!” Lurking above a window. “There’s a fountain!” Tucked away in a hidden streetside garden.
Tears sprung to my eyes at his delight — and at my own.
These simple moments that remind us that all is well, right here and now.
Those moments that feel like grace.
Here’s to you and yours, for a holiday filled with both gratitude and grace.
Be sure to get your fill,
(Photo credit: Stacy Morrison)