Peace on earth, good will to men has not had a good year.The war in Ukraine continues, the MidEast has erupted, Jews and Palestinians in the US who had nothing to do with the violence in the MidEast are being threatened. The amount of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in every continent has skyrocketed. Rather than deal with the underlying conditions that drive people to flee, governments and many who want to be in government are vilifying them for fleeing. Conditions were like that too, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which is currently closed to tourism.

Being raised a Catholic, I had religion every day for 11/12 years of schooling pre-university. Meanwhile, my father, a Jewish atheist would make me recite my Catholic prayers if it was his turn to put me to bed. He would attend midnight Mass with my mother so she never had to go alone. Otherwise, on Sundays, he would garden while my mother took us to church.

They lived through the depression and he was in the navy in WW2. They knew that it took kindness, generosity, and participation to keep the world together. They were a stand for that. They wanted the world to be a better place for their children and grandchildren. I want that too.

I am committed, and I hope you are too, to do my individual part to make this a better world. It starts at the dinner table with family and friends through the holidays. I will be a stand for kindness and generosity. And curiosity. I will set my intention before I go. That will help me stay true to my commitment.

May you finish 2023 with joy in your heart, and bring that into 2024 with gusto!

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