Christmas greetings

Across the political, social, and economic divides that continue to trouble the world, over the waves of sobering news – from the spread of Darfur's tragedy into Chad to an even more roiled Middle East to the seemingly endless conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan – Christmas again approaches with its never-more-needed message: "Glory be to God, and on earth, peace...."

It's sometimes said that Christmas itself divides us into Christians and "others." But the Christ transcends denomination. It isn't limited to one sect or confined to a specific church. Our hearts tell us that Christ is the universal, reforming Truth-power within all of us, the influence of divine Love itself leading the human family out of all that plagues and pains us.

This newspaper's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, cherished the promise of Christmas. "The basis of Christmas," she once wrote, "is love loving its enemies, returning good for evil, love that 'suffereth long, and is kind.' " These aren't life tenets easily followed. Yet when practiced, they transform the way we think and act – and can lead to a world we'll all be happier to live in.

If, as some observers have said, we're facing a leadership vacuum in the world, then more than ever the need is for humble, inclusive, wise, spiritually minded leadership. But leadership isn't the private domain of leaders. Leadership in its deepest sense, as the qualities of character that govern fairly and reconcile divisions, comes to each of us directly from God. Through prayer we access the love that alone pacifies and heals. And the prayers of all praying people are needed to lead the nations toward answers of peace.

Wishing you a joyful Christmas season and a bright New Year.•

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