One recent morning we awoke to the first snow of winter coating the lindens and elms on Copp’s Hill. The holiday calendar season had now officially arrived although the mad rush of getting and spending was already well underway. But, for that brief moment at dawn, the sounds of traffic, sirens and construction were muffled in a soft falling whiteness. All was calm, all was bright in the neighborhood as each of us made our way towards December 25.
On Christmas eve in buildings encircling an ancient burying ground, a cluster of families, including our own, will shelter in place, foregoing the exodus to the suburbs, mountains and beyond. For some of us, the holidays make impossible demands, conjuring up childhood memories that collide with the reality of adult responsibility. But for one brief night — perhaps for a handful of hours — we find emotional refuge.
Maybe the Bethlehem Star will be cloud covered and the echoing of angel voices muted deep within the cityscape. Perhaps the magi’s caravan will encounter a detour somewhere along the turnpike. As we slumber, Herod’s soldiers will not yet have received orders to arm and mount. There will be only calm. There will be serenity. There will be respite from the last darkness of the passing year and the uncertainty of the one about to begin. Still we cling to hope in the humanity of our brothers and sisters and seek peace everywhere as we journey through this season.
Thomas F. Schiavoni
(From Boston’s North End, Thomas F. Schiavoni writes about neighborhood life and city living.)