We found a lovely canopy of Japanese Maple trees on a late November walk in North Carolina. I found a little refuge, a reminder that God is our refuge and shelter. My son found walking sticks. He brought them home, removed the bark with a pocket knife and rubbed the bare wood smooth with fine grit sandpaper. “It feels like velvet now,” he said, sliding his hand along its surface. He looked proud of his uncovered treasure. At Christmas, he gave one of his carved walking sticks to a friend who hikes long distances. Nature uncovers gifts…comfort and awareness of God’s protection; a child’s perseverance and generosity; and a mom’s pride in her son.