As I sit in the midst of the first big winter storm, with windows blocked by accumulating snow and the sounds of wind, I find I have the perfect time for prayer and reflection.

This year has been filled with much that can lead to a season of sadness rather than one filled with the joy and anticipation that is usually experienced as the world prepares to celebrate this happy season, be it Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

First and foremost are the effects of the coronavirus, which has changed the world around us, including our ability to gather with family and friends. We live in a nation that is politically divided, even causing alienation amongst families and friends.

As I so often counsel others I must put into practice for myself. All of us need a new focus. I suggest gratitude. First and foremost anyone who has taken the time to read these musings needs to be grateful for life. I and I am sure many of you have experienced the illness and deaths of family members and friends; yet for some reason we are still here. Our response needs to be prayerful gratitude.

I have for many years been associated with Grace Center, a drop-in center for homeless and others who are in need of a supportive environment. I never cease to be grateful for the dedicated staff and selfless volunteers, who give of their time and care for the guests.

The internet, with Zoom meetings and text messages by fiends and acquaintances, brings cheer.

A crystal star, which I hung over an image of the Christ Child, reminds me to look for light in the midst of darkness.

Words for the Christmas carol “We Three Kings” keep echoing in my mind.

“Star with royal beauty bright

Westward leading, still proceeding

Guide us to thy perfect light.“

Let this light be the star of gratitude which leads us to the perfect light the reason for the Season. For me this leads to Jesus.

The Rev. Ronald J. Gariboldi is retired co-pastor of Holy Family Parish. Midweek Musings rotates among Cape Ann clergy. 

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