Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

A morning showed its harsh and angry face,
And people stumbling through the slush were stressed.
They crept along, a dim and dirty race
To jobs that no one wanted. I was dressed
For winter. When I felt my worn boots slip
I wished that they were ermine-trimmed and lined.
My icy failures had me in their grip.

I never thought that in the snow I’d find
A simple sprig of striped and purple leaves,
Perfect, in answer to my thoughts. At home
This grew upon our wall. The spirit grieves,
And then a sudden morning’s smile warms some
Facet of our reality with love,
Softens the face of what we cannot solve.

Dear Reader,

We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.

Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on

Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.

Will you give today?

Make My Gift