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In December, the pup wakes us at 4:30. Outside we see Orion standing in the eastern sky, close to the horizon, swollen like a god who could reach out his hand.

I want sleep but don’t find it until the couch and evening TV. It’s not just sleep from a bad cough, or walking the puppy, but a sleep of grief. The season reminds me that my people are gone.

After the first snow, the puppy finds blood and matted fur by the wood pile, rabbit tracks and coyote tracks. I fear meeting a coyote.

Christmas lights are nice, especially the ones in Cherry Valley — trees wound with white bulbs. They cheer me before the short drive to gaudy businesses or the long drive onto dark country roads. This year I don’t want presents, and I’m tired of the pressure to buy stuff that catches dust, that gets boring fast.

December falls to darkness, but also rises to dawn, days that swell quickly. My horse begins to drop coat. And we think a little about that obscure baby born in a backwater town, who lived an obscure life, and died a grisly death, a man tradition says sank into hades, overturned it like so much stiff dirt, and popped out like we see every spring, seeds turned into green shoots, rolling dirt like boulders over. And we know the world has turned, the sun pushes back the darkness.

I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.

If you’d like to hear me read this, click here.

Well, the storm is coming with 50 mph winds, snow and bitter cold just before the Christmas weekend. We don’t know if we’ll get out to church but we are stocked up. I’m not looking forward to multiple trips outside for Omalola, along with burning off some energy. I doubt I’ll be throwing the frisbee for her, so we may have to settle for her running circuits around the house.

This week we experienced how good neighbors can come through for you in practical ways and also offer emotional support. One of our doors was broken and a neighbor graciously helped Bruce replace it in a few hours. That love your neighbor thing is real, something we’d all do well to practice.

We hope Christ is born in you this new year coming and that you find community. Thank you for reading my work. Peace be with you.