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This year, again, it is difficult….

As I write this, the year again tumbles toward a close with the barbaric killing of two police officers in Brooklyn NY, one of several continuing responses to previous police killings of unarmed citizens. This year again, because of the gross darkness that leads to such horridly unjust and often random violence, some will experience Christmas without a loving child or parent or sibling at their side.

And yet each year the gentle spirit of Christmas brings a sense of promise and renewal. The memories and celebrations of the birth of an innocent baby have softening effects. Christmas often provides a respite from the stresses, hurts, frictions, and pressures of everyday life. It can also remind us that babies are the hope of the world. They represent a clean slate, free of the learned baggage of mistrust and unkindness. They give us a glimpse of what life can be like without strife or animosity. They testify to the ideal of peace on earth.

As often as I can, I wish people “A Blessed Christmas,” but that traditional wish is tempered with sadness and sorrow this year. My more hopeful wish, instead, is that we all might feel the gentle touch of the loving spirit that is embodied in the infant Jesus; that we may quietly rejoice in the miracle of both human and eternal life; and that those who grieve might feel Christ’s comforting touch in the promise of salvation from all the woes that are a part of our humanness. This year, it is my wish that we might all go deeper than the typical merriment and festivities of Christmas, and strive again to hear the timeless song of the angels: “peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind..”

“May God bless us…every one!”