Regardless of faith or religious practice, people around the world mark the closing of a year with celebration, reflection, and optimism. This year, Christmas and Hanukkah begin on the same day, December 25th. For Christians, it is a time of expectant joy, and for Jews, it is a time of great hope. If ever there were a time to set aside our differences and work for the common good, this is it.
As a boy, I remember learning that in the weeks leading to Christmas, it was my job to prepare a place for the Christ child – in my heart, in our home, and in my life. In the days and weeks following Hurricane Katrina, we saw this lived out as people opened their homes and shared whatever blessings they had with those in need of love and care. Unfortunately, what we also saw in Katrina was an entire class of people who have been left being in recent years – the poor. Katrina blew away the wall that hid poverty and its victims from the general public= Now, the challenge before our country is whether we can respond, not only with mercy and kindness, but with humility and justice. Humility, because it could just as easily have been us; justice, because if it were us, we would want more than a hand-out, we would want a hand-up – help to rebuild our lives and care for our families.
This is the challenge and the promise of a great nation: that we will be remembered for how we care for the least of these, our sisters and brothers here at home and around the world. As the year comes to a close, we invite you to pause and consider what you might do in 2006 to work for a world with both mercy and justice.
On behalf of the Center for American Progress, I extend warm wishes of joy and hope for a wonderful holiday season.
Peace be with you,
Marco Grimaldo and the Faith and Progressive Policy Team