Many […] have a stunted view of art as something nonessential, an option, but not an important one. In so doing they ignore the gratuitous beauty (which means gift of pure Grace, quite undeserved) which the Creator included in Creation, and the senses he endowed us with which can respond to that beauty.
To have a functioning cosmos would have seemed enough.
Beauty is an added bounty, and because the benefactor is divine we ignore or disdain beauty at our peril, no matter where it is found.
Lucy Shaw, The Crime of Living Cautiously
Every year, my birthday (today, incidentally) has seemed to mark the end of the brilliantly lit and highly colored festive winter season (Thanksgiving! Christmas! Reyes! Birthday!) and the beginning of a bleak wintry collection of weeks stretching through to March (if we’re lucky). These weeks emphasize to me the importance of beauty, even at its most elusive. It may be hard to see beauty outside on the grey, brown, green days now and ahead, but how thankful I am for the family and friends who have brought gratuitous beauty into my life through their love expressed in words, actions, and gifts that remind me to taste and see the grace in things like the added bounty of dinners together, yellow roses, and warming, delicious teas.