The neighborhood’s awash in color and bright white as people light up the darkest season and the last days of a dark and strange year. Every twinkle and sparkle is a burst of hope, a belief that something brighter’s on the horizon. Even in the midst of troubling times, there’s joy to be found, tradition to experience, and some things that never change though the world around us frequently does and without warning. That may be the greatest gift the season and the pandemic provide — the ability to see every day as a gift, even if it’s only in between moments of struggle and change.

When 2020 began, people joked about clear vision. We had no idea the clarity that would emerge. I hope we continue to do what we can in each present moment, heeding the science and dealing honestly and urgently with COVID-19 while at the same time not just empathizing with but finally truly answering the long-standing cries of injustice. I’d hate to see 2021 become a year focused on the lessons of hindsight.

To the myriad gifts each day brings and the illuminated vision to take it all in with gratitude.