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Peace is our most important pursuit – the absence of conflict, the satisfaction of our needs, the calmness of our mind. The tranquility of our very existence.

Nations search for a political peace. They engage in diplomacy to bring about a lasting peace for their people and for the world’s community. They forgive transgressions and avoid committing their own. A country must also seek domestic peace before prosperity can come about. An oppressed population does not know peace and struggle for freedom. Poverty and hunger cannot exist where there is true peace.

People also strive for peace. We rarely crave conflict between each other. The expression of ideas are not inherently a weapon against peace, but can be used to divide. We seek common ground and ideals and build consensus around creating the world we want to live in. A community of peace.

The last few months have been trying for the soul for many Americans. We acknowledge our differences as we try to find the common ground necessary to move forward in writing our own chapter in history. Fear, uncertainty and doubt are too often left unchecked; making the bonds of trust weak when they are needed most in the pursuit of peace.

The common prayer at Christmas time is one of peace, hope, joy and love. The holiday brings those common themes together through music, word and sign. It is cliché to say those are too often overlooked, but it is true they are easy to miss with everything else going on around us.

I pray that peace comes to all who seek it, in the stillness of this night to the brightness of the new day. I pray that the Christmas season brings you joy and happiness in the company of friends, family and friends not yet made. I pray that love fills your heart, hands and feet as you help your fellow man in charity and grace.

Merry Christmas!