The Grace of Abundant Praise: A Look Back at December

December. It was only a few weeks ago, but it feels like a lifetime ago. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. Yet, somehow, once school begins again, all the abundance December once encompassed finds its end.

And so today, as I continue to box up Christmas decorations, I take time to remember December. All the beautiful moments and the excruciatingly hard ones. The moments that continue to grow me, to stretch me. Shaping me, so that I may look more like Christ.

December ended with me finishing the Old Testament. I have enjoyed my journey through these books of grace. These books that weave together a love so abundant, so personal, so overwhelming. December began with me in Isaiah, one of my favorite books of the Bible.

“You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You, 
because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever, 
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)

December began with friends. Literally, the first thing I did on December 1st (after taking the kids to school, of course), was talk to my dear friend from Sweden. Our friendship makes me smile. Like many of my closest friends, it surprised me. And looking back I can see the way God weaved us together.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid; 

for the Lord God is my strength and my song, 
and He has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)

I spent time with my community, the people that not just surround me, but grow me. The people that challenge me and support me. I enjoyed time with dear friends as we watched our children grow in friendship. I reconnected with a friend and watched as our littlests played. I went running (or fast walking) and began to dream about taking a dog running one day.  We enjoyed parties and celebrations with our closest friends. We cheered on our kids, as our friends sat alongside us, loving our children as if they were their own. And as I sit, looking back on my December calendar, I am lost in praise. Overwhelming gratitude at this abundant community I have been blessed with.

“…the desert shall rejoice and blossom…
it shall blossom abundantly

and rejoice with joy and singing.” (Isaiah 35:1-2)

December was also filled with celebrations. Of course, there was Christmas and New Years Eve, but for us December held so much more. December closed with Man Child turning 8. We celebrated with an afternoon playing games and laser tag with just him. I praised God for this life, this child, who is so much of me (unfortunately, not just the good parts).

“Even youths shall faint and be wary, 
and young men shall fall exhausted; 
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength
they shall mount up with wings like eagles; 
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)

We also enjoyed Star Wars, like the rest of the world. We went with most of our family, and were able to take Man Child! He loved it and I loved being able to share in something he likes. We also cheered Goose on during her first ballet recital. A few days later, we saw the Nutcracker Ballet and fell in love with the beauty of dance and, of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy. And I celebrated my nephew, due in February. I am praising God for these little ones, for their hearts that are so unique and for the unique roles they (will) play in the body of Christ. 

“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid; 

for the Lord God is my strength and my song, 
and He has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)

We celebrated Christmas abundantly. Literally, we had a handful of Christmas parties and the same number of Christmas celebrations. We sang carols with close friends, remembering the coming of Jesus. Celebrating it. We saw extended family and enjoyed time together. We spent time with friends: neighbors and co-workers. And we celebrated the blessing of each relationship.

“…by His knowledge shall the righteous One, My Servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and He shall bear their iniquities.”
(Isaiah 53:11)

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and ‘Christmas Sunday’ were spent with family, marveling at the blessing of God come down. Emmanuel, God with us, fully God and fully man. Man Child read from Luke, the Christmas story, amidst an abundance of toddler and infant noise. And it was beautiful. The kids celebrated others as they handed out gifts for each other over themselves. They learned the gratitude for a few gifts over many. For gifts made by hand, personally created for them. And as I think on all the celebrations, I am struck by one thing. The abundant way we are loved. And even more, the abundant way we love others. 

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given; 

and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called 
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

And we went to a Bulls game. This gets its own paragraph, because well, it only makes sense if you know the boys in my life. We were able to bring Man Child and meet Bill Wennington. We went with friends. Friends that have seen hard but that praise Him nonetheless.

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; 
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.'” (Isaiah 30:15)

I pray you all had a beautiful December. And if you haven’t taken down your Christmas decorations yet, take some time to remember the beauty of December as you pack everything away. Remember the abundant blessing of it all. 

love to you






3 thoughts on “The Grace of Abundant Praise: A Look Back at December

  1. Oh, I love the book of Isaiah as well! I need to go back and read it all again!
    Also, I love that your daughter is an aspiring little ballerina! I’m a dance teacher and former dancer, and I loved my Nutcracker years…and even now that I’m not performing, I still go see it every year. It’s so magical! I hope she keeps dancing!

    Emily Anne {A fellow Peony}


  2. Thank you for this beautiful reminder! I will be taking down my Christmas decorations this weekend (yes, I’m late!) and I’m always in such a hurry to pack it all away. I definitely will be taking the time to admire each handmade ornament from my children that adorned our tree this past season.

    Have a great weekend!


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