Friday, December 24, 2010
My three little elves and their mother are out delivering gift bags of goodies to friends and neighbors - the bounty of the last few days of kitchen work and part of our family's annual tradition.
My view from the kitchen window several minutes ago as I scrubbed the sticky residue of peanut brittle from several pots is one of a snowy landscape glistening in the early afternoon sunshine. It is a beautiful, tranquil sight.
This evening, we will gather at Faith Christian Church in Gardiner to celebrate in remembrance of the gathering around a lowly stable more than 2,000 years ago.
This coming together of friends and family members in worship and singing - free of discord and violence - is one that easily can be taken for granted.
We have known no other way of life.
And yet - with the knowledge that this blog has been read in nearly 20 countries - I am aware that my family's experience is not universal.
We live in a country free of war and sectarian violence.
We have peaceful transitions of governmental power in a democracy where even the lowliest among us can voice his opinion without fear of being jailed, beaten or killed.
We live in a country with many religious freedoms, where people can gather and worship - whether that setting be a church, synagogue or mosque.
And in my own home, I know that my wife and I can tuck our children into bed at night knowing they are safe and their bellies are full.
They can receive an education, supported by caring teachers, school administrators and staff. My daughters have as equal a right to learning as my son, without fear of being physically disfigured or killed because they sought to receive an education.
If my children are sick, we can get them medical care. If they are in trouble, there are many avenues of support.
As my family prepares to celebrate a joyful Christmas, I recognize there are many others throughout the world who will not have this same opportunity.
For all these, I offer thoughts of hope and a prayer for peace.