Here we stand once more, on the threshold of Christmas, constrained by the terrible presence of COVID-19 in our midst, and growing concerns about a new surge that is enveloping our area. While we can take some comfort that we now have important tools to battle the pandemic that we did not have at its start, especially the reception of vaccines and the proper use of masks, we still find ourselves in a place of uncertainty. After the hope and joy of springtime renewal and a return to normalcy, to be amid such darkness and despair again is particularly jarring. Yet in the midst of this darkness, we receive the gift of Christmas, when the Church reminds us that everlasting hope came to us in Bethlehem. Born into poverty and unnoticed by everyone except poor shepherds tending their flocks, the Christ Child brings us hope and inspires his followers and people of good will to work for a more peaceful and just world. It is in this spirit of hope that I offer this reflection, mindful of the personal burdens that many are carrying because of the sufferings caused by the pandemic. As I look at our own diocese, I see the light of Christmas at work in the generosity, service, and advocacy of so many people throughout the year. Our Catholic Charities will be feeding the working poor and homeless on Christmas as they do every day throughout the year. Our Catholic schools throughout the diocese offered heroic service by remaining open for in-person learning while advancing the education of our students. The generosity of donors both large and small provided emergency relief to individuals and families, while also maintaining core services. Our churches remained open for safe public worship, while avoiding communal spread of the virus. To be certain, both in our diocese and across the country, we have been inspired by heroic and sacrificial acts that restore our faith in one another. Yet we also see much that is deeply disturbing, especially in the rising homicide rates, traffic fatalities, altercations on airlines and in stores, and the fraying of our common bonds of civility both in public discourse and individual actions. The pandemic has also exposed the inequalities in our society that leave so many of the working poor and most vulnerable subject to personal, economic, and social hardships. While we may be far from agreeing politically on how best to find a solution, I think as people of faith, we can agree that the love of God compels us to love our neighbors, especially those whom the world has left behind, in the shadows of our society. I believe Christmas is a blessed time to rediscover the power of the common good; that is, the common values that invite us to work together to bring healing to the world. Thankfully, we can turn to Pope Francis\u2019 writings, which resonate deeply with the notion of the common good. He makes it clear that every human person, and in particular every believer has a personal responsibility to foster healing and seek unity and peace with our neighbor. In Christian revelation, we speak of God as a Trinity of divine persons, unified in perfect divine love since \u201cGod is love\u201d. The communion (\u201ccommon union\u201d) we share with one another is meant to reflect this divine life in the world. We are reminded of who we are and the bond we share with every human being, of all races, cultures and backgrounds. This principle of communion is summarized in four simple words: \u201ca call for inclusion.\u201d It also reminds us of our obligation to sustain our common life and the care of creation that allows human life to endure. Further, in the Jewish scriptures, the invitation to communion is expressed in the notion of covenant. By offering a covenant to His chosen people, God binds Himself in love to His people despite whatever past infidelities may have occurred. The offer of His covenant is God\u2019s everlasting and irrevocable invitation to share divine life with His Chosen People. This Christmas, let our prayer be one of unity and healing. Let us put aside what divides us in our families, churches, communities, and country, and find the common ground necessary to protect the life and dignity of every person, to foster the health of nations, to affirm a global common good and to allow all humanity to live in true communion. Let us mold our world to become a place where every human being, local community, and nation can live in prosperity and peace. I pray that this Christmas will be a time of blessings and joy for you and your loved ones, and bring our world to greater unity and peace. The Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano was named bishop of Bridgeport by Pope Francis in 2013. You can read his reflections on Facebook: Bishop Frank J. Caggiano or follow him on Twitter @BishopCaggiano , or Instagram @BishopFrankCaggiano.