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December 2006: Peace on Earth...

When it is time for the winter solstice, and for many religious and spiritual observances in December, we first feel excited at the prospect of celebration. Sometimes there is the feeling of loss - as one might feel with shorter and darker days, with the cold weather settling into our lives and with the sense of passage.

For many, this is not going to be a happy time.

Perhaps you have loved ones in Iraq or Afghanistan. Perhaps your family lives far from you. Maybe you or someone you care about is suffering from physical pain or disability.

Keep in your hearts this season those who suffer worldwide from AIDS. On December 1st, join with the United Nations on World AIDS Day and offer what you can in terms of time or resources to your local AIDS organization. In the Downstate neighborhood, there are a few.

The weeks following Thanksgiving and through the New Year also bring eggnog or mulled drinks that may include alcohol. Because of that, this entire month is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention (3D) Month. The best holiday gift - Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah - that we can give anyone would be to keep them from driving after drinking.

In the spirit of human kindness as we slow down in order to prepare for holiday parties and gift-exchanges, let us take time pray to whoever we believe holds this universe together. Let us ask for peace on earth and good will toward all this December!