Christmas wish list

Peace on earth and goodwill to all – that’s a common refrain at Christmas time. It’s definitely in our prayers this year.

The season of celebrating Jesus’ birth can be a powerful force for goodness. In December 1914, for example, during what would come to be called World War I, German, French and British soldiers in the trenches temporarily stopped shooting at each other and even crossed over to celebrate Christmas together. The 2005 movie “Joyeux Noel” captured that moment wonderfully; it might be a good one to watch with family members during this holiday vacation.

Who would have believed Mary that God put a child in her womb without her ever having relations with a man – and that the child would offer salvation to the world? It would have required incredible hope. Irrational hope.

And yet …

In that spirit, we dare to hope.

Our Christmas wish list includes returning border-crossing children to their families, sending U.S. soldiers home from the Mexican border and having Congress hammer out a sensible, fair immigration policy that gives new immigrants a chance and also provides a way for hard-working people who immigrated here illegally in the past – seeking no ill will, just work, safety and opportunity — to stay here long-term.

We wish for an end to the creeping trend toward autocracy worldwide, from Nicaragua and Venezuela to Turkey and the Philippines. Even the excesses of liberty are better than the oppression of totalitarianism.

We hope for easing tension between Ukraine and Russia, between Iran and Saudi Arabia (with Yemen caught in the middle), between Israel and Palestinians, and between North Korea and the rest of the world.

We hope to avoid a new arms race between the U.S., Russia and China.

We hope more people will recognize when they have enough wealth, food, possessions, business growth, etc., and choose to leave more resources for others.

We hope more elected leaders will try to represent a broad spectrum of their constituents and work with their colleagues to compromise and get things done for the common good.

We hope more Americans will realize that their city and suburban lives are not worth the expense, the frenzy and the 90-minute super-commutes, and consider resettling in a small town — such as the Adirondacks, for example.

We hope we, and everyone, will be less defensive and more humble, less selfish and more generous, less comfort-seeking and more kindness-giving.

We hope that hope prevails over fear. We know it will in the end, but we hope it does in our lifetime.