Christmas Eve, 2017
I’m sitting by the fire, with a mug of coffee, watching the cold rain fall outside, almost turning to snow.
The presents are wrapped and under the tree, brightening up the living room. Soon, dinner will be in the oven, and the merriment of Christmas will begin.
The real joy of the season, and the real presents to be enjoyed, won’t be found under the tree. The true gifts of Christmas have already been given, and our hearts are already filled with the joy of the season.
That joy, that “reason for the season” is found in relationships.
It has been a year of reaching out, reconnecting, and opening our hearts to one another. Friends and family have shared their fears, their uncertainties, their doubts. Many have had their lives turned upside down, and have been left fearful of their future, and their own abilities to captain their ships through storm-tossed seas.
This year, I’ve made it a point to reach out and share time with many people. Being a good listener, offering comfort and solace. Realizing that each of us is an instrument of change. One person can make a difference. It’s a simple truth.
Often, simply showing up and being there for someone has warmed our hearts and provided a safe harbor during the storm.
Last week, I visited two young men in prison. Both of them were filled with doubt and uncertainty, feeling lost and unsupported in their journeys. We talked, we laughed, we shared our stories of our struggles and doubts during this year.
We each took comfort in the other’s big hearts and willingness to extend hands of friendship.
Behind cold walls topped with razor wire, I found the light of personal commitment to a better world. Young men, with great courage and great wisdom, speaking from their hearts gave me hope for the future.
We are not alone. None of us are fully confident in our ability to weather the storms of life. Yet, we have each other, and we believe in each other. In our community, by coming together and sharing our hearts and our talents, we will change the world.
This year, I celebrate the gift of friendship, the gift of unconditional love.
What really is important this year is not found in politics, and is rarely talked about on the pages of newspapers, social media posts, or on TV. Yet, I hear it from friends and family, over coffee, and in new books that come my way.
The real treasure we have, and the true power that we hold in our own hands and in our hearts, is the ability to care about each other, to support each other, and to act with compassion and respect.
The answers to the world’s problems won’t be found in the marble halls of Washington, but they will be found in our hearts and in the strength of hands holding hands, people walking alongside other people, and working towards our common goals and implementing our common values in the work that we do.
This is a time of rebuilding, and restarting the relationships and the social institutions that have served us so well in the past. In our commonality, our common goodness, there is hope and there is our future.