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baby-feataBy Cathy Hird

Looking out my window in the middle of the night, I saw one small star twinkling. I knew that if I went outside into the cold clear air, I would see hundreds, but one was enough. While the brilliance of a star-filled sky is glorious, a single light can be a gift.

By the time dawn came, heavy grey had taken over. We have not seen a lot of sun this season. Not only does it rise late and set early, it has been hidden by cloud most days. Too many days have been so foggy we cannot see across the field or down the road.

retire-regBy Michael Warren

Paul is a financially independent businessman who took early retirement at sixty. He bought the silver BMW sports car he'd always wanted and a new set of golf clubs.

Like many people, Paul had spent more time planning his next vacation than he did thinking about his retirement.

After six months of playing golf, driving with the top down and a Caribbean holiday, Paul slipped into bouts of emptiness and depression. He began drinking more than usual to submerge these unexpected feelings.

cathy-manorah-featBy Cathy Hird

This is a season when it can feel as if everything runs short. Town budgets for snow removal have nothing left. Time to accomplish our long list is running out. The store does not have the great gift we wanted or the size of turkey we need. Our supply of energy fizzles.

nativity-featBy Cathy Hird

Most of the cards one gets in this season have peaceful images on them. Snow falls quietly. Horses pull a sleigh across empty fields. A dove sits in a pine tree. Given that December is dark, stormy and frenetic, given how much we long for peace, the cards provide us with a picture of what we desire. Cards that picture the birth of Jesus also give us an image of peace and quiet: in a stable, a mother cradles a sleeping infant with father and animals looking on and a single star in the sky.

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