“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (Isaiah 2:4)

This morning, I got this photo from my friend, Coleman Heckart, a Costa Rica expat, photographer extraordinaire and a lovely generous soul. I miss him and all my Costa Rica buds. (So jealous that the Badgetts are there with Ginny!!! Next year, Christmas in Costa Rica!!!) I miss my Key West buds. I miss the geography of both… At the same time, I am loving getting to know my old and new Kentucky buds, too. Heck, the geography here is reminiscent of Costa Rica… except for that lovely touch of snow on the ground this morning!

Here’s to a happy and joyful holiday season for you and your family, no matter how you celebrate it. R. Lee Wrights, Libertarian candidate for President 2012, perfectly said what is in my heart:

We call this time of year the Holiday Season, a special time when people celebrate in a variety of ways. Some greet each other with Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or just a simple Happy Holidays. Some give gifts, great and small. Just about everybody gets together with his or her family and friends. But whatever the greeting or tradition, what we do and how we do it is not nearly as important as the spirit that underlies and motivates our action, and that is the spirit of peace.

Growing up in North Carolina, our family may not have had much money but we weren’t poor, especially at this time of year. Since I was raised as a Christian, the traditions and practices I grew up with focused on the birth of the one we believe is the savior of all mankind, and who is called the Prince of Peace. The scripture we heard foretold that at his birth, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (Isaiah 2:4)

But my fondest memories are of the gathering of family and friends and the abundance of joy, peace and hope that filled our celebration. Whatever our circumstances, we always managed to have a good time and enjoy one another’s company.

Regardless of whether you are a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, if you believe in many gods — or if you believe in no God at all, you can’t help but to be touched in some way by the spirit of peace that imbues this season. That is because the true meaning of this holiday season transcends any and all the religious, cultural, ethnic, political or national differences among men and women. The longing for peace on earth is greater than all these because it is the natural, universal desire inherent in all human beings.

That is why at this time of year, people all over the world gather with their families and friends to eat and drink, sing and dance, and to forget, even for one day or one hour, the evils and dangers, the burdens and misery of the world. They come together in peace to rejoice in what is good, what is just, and what is most sacred to them. And they prepare for a new year which they fervently hope will be better, more prosperous and more peaceful than the one ending.

Peace, like charity, begins at home. It begins in the heart and mind of every person. We cannot bring peace to the world, let alone to our nation, if we do not have peace within ourselves. So in this special season, my fondest wish to you all is peace. Peace in your heart, peace in your family, peace in our nation and peace on earth.

Peace be with you.

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