'Tis the season ... for holiday joy, gift-giving and festive fun.

But there's not so much joy or fun for many of the residents in Fairfield's shoreline neighborhood, still struggling to pick up the pieces of their devastated properties -- and lives -- in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

The time of year, however, is also a season of hope. Answered prayers. Rededication. And lights that illumine a sometimes-rocky path to the future.

So, amid the continuing challenges -- and often clamorous efforts -- to rebuild and recover from Sandy's harsh legacy, there are small signs of the season's uplifting spirit.

Quiet, yet determined, these images underscore the enduring strength of hope.