I will light Candles this Christmas: Candles of joy despite all sadness, Candles of hope where despair keeps watch, Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days, Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens, Candles of love to inspire all my living, Candles that will burn all year long.
by Howard Thurman
Just the other day one of my nephews asked what I hoped for the new year. At least I think he used the word “hope.”
After a brief pause I replied that I hoped the same thing I hope every day: shalom – the Hebrew word for peace.
As I understand it, it’s so much more than the absence of conflict. I hope that of course: the end of war between nations, the end of hostility between neighbors, the end of animosity within families.
I also hope for shalom/peace, in the sense of good health, healing, and wholeness. I hope for communities where all are truly welcomed and treated with respect. I hope for safe places where the gifts of each and every person are held sacred and celebrated. I hope for generosity and good will among all.
I hope that for you.
And I pray that after I light candles, I will have the integrity and courage to act in ways that further shalom/peace in our world.