Now, on to the Christmas wishes and gifts. Hopefully you won't be too offended to make your way to the end of this post.
First, to the members of Congress, I give a collective lump of coal for turning their backs on and shirking their responsibility to the majority of Americans in this country. Echoes of the actions of this Congress can be found in the so-called "Do-Nothing Congress" of the 1940s under President Harry S. Truman.
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans has led on any issue. Instead, both sides have acted like spoiled children who threaten to either hold their breath until they turn blue or take their ball and go home. I've never been an advocate for term limits because I believe there is value in a life spent in public service. This Congress has me reconsidering.
Next, to President Obama, I would give - if it were in my power - a backbone. He took office saying he would look to work with the other side of the aisle, something I took to indicate a willingness to compromise. There is a big difference between compromise and capitulation.
I believe the President has given much more ground to the Republicans in Congress than he has gained on numerous issues. I also don't believe the actions of Obama the President match the views espoused by Obama the candidate.
For practitioners of various faiths, I would give - if I could - greater understanding of one another. I believe it is only through understanding that we can achieve peace, one of the sentiments underlying the season, at least as evidenced in many of the Christmas cards that make their way through the mail this time of year.
Finally, for my friends and family, I wish improved and/or increased prosperity in 2012. I am not really speaking in financial terms, although I would be glad to see that for each of you as well. Instead, what I wish for you is richness of mind and of spirit and of faith, regardless of what it is you believe. My own faith journey has been filled with stops and starts over the years but has finally brought me to a place where I believe to be true what is stated in this ancient Japanese saying:
"There are many paths up the mountain, but the view of the moon from the top is the same."May each of you have a joyous Christmas, filled with love and laughter and peace.