A summary of what was included on More to Come in the month of December 2022. If you receive my monthly email update, you can skip this post.
As winter settles in I’m sending holiday greetings and best wishes for a 2023 full of joy and wonder. I also want to say thanks for reading these monthly emails and sampling the eclectic mix of observations that make up More to Come. I so enjoy the comments and conversations that come from so many of you.
There was a lot on my mind in December, so let’s jump in.
TOP READER VIEWS
Two posts in December outpaced all others in terms of reader views. The first was a short piece from December 20th to celebrate the 30th birthday of our twins. Thirty years goes by in the blink of an eye, with its call to celebrate the amazement of our lives and to savor every moment, resonated with so many of you. In a similar vein, Embrace the liminality in life ― my review of Kathryn Schulz’s tender and searching memoir Lost & Found ― also struck a chord with a number of readers. Schulz ends this generous and perceptive work by noting that disappearance reminds us to notice, transience to cherish, fragility to defend. “We are here to keep watch, not to keep.”
TIME OF YEAR FOR THE “BEST OF 2022” LISTS
December is when many newspapers, magazines, and online newsletters try and capture the year that is quickly passing with “best of” lists. More to Come is no exception. I went back to the reader view stats and came up with the following from this year:
- Best of the blog: Top ten posts of 2022 is a look at the top ten reader favorites from the past year. There are posts covering travels, books, places that matter, and family included in this look at what tickled your fancy.
- The Saturday Soundtrack 2022 top ten highlighted the top music posts from the year, which ranged from The Beatles to spooky Halloween favorites, from Joni Mitchell to a grunge rocker covering a roots musician’s song about Lincoln’s assassination. (That last one’s weird, IKR!)
THE WORLD GOES ON
Because of the times we live in, the holiday season didn’t stop the news. While there were many important events taking place around the world, I focused on two of the more historic moments.
- Gratitude to Ukraine was an essay written after a speech to a joint meeting of Congress by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. I referenced distinguished historian Timothy Snyder‘s piece on gratitude for what Ukraine has done to put the speech in context. Zelenskyy cited American history ― the Battle of Saratoga, Pearl Harbor, and the Battle of the Bulge ― to point to similarities in our stories. Most importantly, President Zelenskyy reminded Americans of who we say we are, and why that matters to the world.
- Earlier in December, I wrote about Senator Raphael Warnock’s historic election in Georgia in Get up. Get dressed. Put your shoes on. Get ready. “Because we always have a path to make our country greater, against unspeakable odds, here we stand together,” Senator Warnock said on election night, as he spoke truth to America. Warnock is a Baptist minister, and his speeches are mini-sermons on the importance of democracy and every person getting a vote: “I believe that democracy is the political enactment of a spiritual idea. The notion that each of us has within us a spark of the divine…We all have value. And if we have value, we ought to have a voice.”
BOOKS, BOOKS, AND MORE BOOKS
I touched on the work of a number of authors in December.
- Daydreaming in a focused, driven world saw me pondering mindfulness and daydreaming while reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace in Every Step. Restlessness of a different form played a role in Help for the restless believer, a review of Frederick Buechner‘s Wishful Thinking.
- In the realm of love was my review of C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed. Author Madeleine L’Engle writes in a thoughtful foreword that Lewis helped her understand that each experience of grief is unique. Still, there is a universality to it as well, as what Lewis describes feels so much like what so many have gone through in our recent period of mass death worldwide.
- Looking for life in the winter shadows was an Advent-focused post that examined works by Jan Richardson and Timothy Keller. I found the former better than the latter. Finally, my Christmas greeting this year ― sent your way on Christmas morning as Happy Christmas! ― was an excerpt from Orkney writer George Mackay Brown’s Christmas Stories. I discovered Mackay Brown during our tour of Scotland and Norway this past spring, and his place-based seasonal stories showcased the power of his writing and the richness of the landscape that inspired his storytelling.
Three posts during the month were of the “making a list” variety:
- The books I read in November 2022 was the monthly summary of the five books I read last month.
- I gave a preview of my annual “books I read” list with The most memorable books I read in 2022.
- And just last Wednesday, I posted The 2022 year-end reading list with thumbnail sketches of the 60 books I read over the past twelve months. This is where the “reading five books a month goal” all comes together!
AND LET’S END WITH SOME MUSIC
In addition to the top ten listing above, there were three Saturday Soundtrack essays for December. On the 3rd I wrote Celebrating Paul McCartney, building off an essay by an English writer who provided 64 reasons that the famous Beatle is so important. Don’t worry, I only highlight a handful. Then A gift of new favorites for 2022 was a look at a few of the new artists I’ve discovered in the past two years. Finally, Musical gifts for Yuletide takes a look at how some acoustic and roots musicians celebrate the season.
In these liminal times, remember to treat others with kindness, undertake some mindful walking every day, recognize the incredible privilege that most of us have, and think about how to put that privilege to use for good. Women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and others can feel especially vulnerable…because they are. Finally, work hard for justice and democracy because the fight never ends.
More to come…
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For the November 2022 summary, click here.
Photo by Michael Niessl on Unsplash
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