"We are not enemies, but friends ... The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
-- Abraham Lincoln
So what exactly is there to be merry about this Christmas, anyway?
It's hard sometimes to answer that question. Indeed, we see evil in the world every day.
We know there is war and sorrow, ignorance and injustice. We know that these things exist.
We decry them in newspapers and on social media, and we harbor them as they poison the advice from what Abraham Lincoln called the "better angels of our nature."
We've slipped a little in 2016. And this season is the perfect time to get our footing back.
In the midst of the morass, we pray that this Christmas brings you clarity, dear reader, and a renewed pursuit of the most virtuous of Christmas gifts: life, hope, love and forgiveness.
We know that these things exist, too.
We see them at soup kitchens, in hunger centers and at churches. We see them in doctors working in war-torn countries and in non-profits collecting warm coats for children.
We see them when we help the least among us, and when we forgive the transgressions of others.
They are the gifts that were born in one and bestowed to all, embodied in that familiar Christmas refrain from the prophet Isaiah:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: And the government should be upon his shoulder."
When you celebrate this season, we pray that you rediscover the goodness of humanity. Let the unseen gifts of Christmas be your guide moving forward.
And Merry Christmas.