“Doom and gloom.” This is a strange way to begin a reflection. However, this was my first impression of Christmas 2021. It was a cloudy and rainy day.

Getting myself out to concelebrate Christmas Mass at St. Joachim’s Church in Rockport soon lifted my spirits.

The church was artfully decorated with simplicity. The message of the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem, the Savior of the world, was eloquently proclaimed by the decor, music and preaching.

For a time, stress was laid aside. The greatest of these was of course the threat of the pandemic of COVID-19. I have also experienced the deaths and serious illnesses of friends during 2021.

Yet even the midst of these feelings the Christmas message of hope, peace and joy seemed to pierce the doom and gloom with which I began the day. Hope that the pandemic of COVID will end. Peace that there are good people who love others and strive to make the world a better place. Joy in the fact that we have life in the midst of all that surrounds us.

Let us all search for the star which will bring light to “doom and gloom.” This star is the promise given to all who believe in the message proclaimed by the angels on the first Christmas night. “Peace on earth to people of good will.”

Christian or non-Christian can all experience the gifts of peace, hope and joy if simple gratitude is expressed for the simple gifts of life and opportunity to love.

I pray for an end to “doom and gloom” and a beginning of “light and joy.”

The Rev. Ronald Gariboldi is retired pastor of Holy Family Parish, Gloucester. The Midweek Musings column rotates among Cape Ann clergy.

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