At this time of year, we think about the people and things for which we are grateful. While there is considerable strife and suffering in our world, we must focus, too, on the communities and the people that share our small neighborhoods and towns.

Being in the business of publishing weekly newspapers, we may have a better view than most of not only the hard news stories that surround us, but the good deeds as well, many of which you might never hear about.

Coming across our desks this week alone --

Like Loaves & Fishes in Devens, senior citizens in Pepperell are making and gathering gifts for young children to choose for their parents, children who might otherwise have nothing to give;

Townsend clergy, businesspeople and young people gathered to light the town Christmas tree and share a concert of holiday music and supper, in part, a thank you gift from the town's food pantry to the residents who give all year long;

Ayer Library, businesses and a nonprofit are preparing for hayrides with Santa, a Christmas concert and a yuletide celebration to entertain residents and benefit the Loaves & Fishes food pantry;

Shirley American Legion will hold its stew and chowder event tomorrow to bring the community together in the cause of service to veterans;

The Groton Community Christmas Concert, comprised of residents, will perform this weekend, raising their adult and children's voices in traditional Christmas music;

Harvard senior citizens were treated to a holiday party complete with refreshments and with entertainment by Bob Wright of Main Street Cafe of Groton.

In Townsend, a woman appealed to our readers when she lost her wedding rings, family heirlooms she was grief-stricken to lose. Only days later, the rings were found when a former police chief and his wife, whom she had never met, arrived with a metal detector and found them.

And all these things don't event scratch the surface of the good that goes on here in our community.

So as we struggle from day to day with the difficulties that confront us, try to lighten your spirit with the good that surrounds us, because it truly is a wonderful life.