A little civility, please
My holiday wish is for the return of civility to American discourse and action. The anger that pervades our society, from bullying in the classroom to yelling "Hell, no!" in the legislature, is eating away at the social fabric that holds our country together.
We must find ways to channel our energy creatively and not destructively, to turn anger into caring, and greed into sharing, or we will not long survive as a nation. Civility is the change we need.
Alison B. Graham
Give peace a chance
I wish that peace and love will flourish to every corner of the Earth this Christmas. And money, power, and religion will no longer be a sign of success in 2011.
Countries will no longer need a military and those budgets will be used to aid the sick and poor and house the homeless worldwide.
Golf courses will more than suffice to build affordable housing, and Wall Street will become a peace, and love theme park, its infamous bull becoming a free ride for all.
With a little thought, this could easily be a wonderful reality, our very own Oz.
Each year, Catholics like myself, celebrate Christmas as a joyful and festive holiday but, more importantly, as a holy day, when we welcome the gift of Emmanuel, God born in flesh, Christ the lord. Our celebration includes spiritual and cultural traditions, such as buying and giving gifts, decorating our churches and our homes, and enjoying festive meals and family gatherings.
It has become clear to me, however, that certain city administrators, civic leaders, and an overwhelming number of commercial entities, such as malls, department stores, and local retailers, are obviously offended by our Christian ways of celebrating Christmas when it spills over into the public arena.
Over the past decade, I have seen the word Christmas systematically removed from mall decorations, commercial advertising, and public displays. Apparently our governmental and entrepreneurial leaders would be a lot happier if we could just have a "holiday."
So I want to apologize, particularly to all those involved in the retail and marketing community, who have had to put up with all these Christians like myself going forth in legions, to publicly purchase tons of "Christmas" gifts, never realizing how deeply we were offending you.
Perhaps, once we Christians realize how uncharitable and insensitive we have been by spending so much Christmas money among people who find the word Christmas offensive, we will be able to find new and more creative ways to celebrate this holy season within our families and communities. That is my wish.
Steven J. Marinucci
Don't forget the kids
My holiday wish is to create public education opportunities that are world-class for all of our children. This can happen when the No Child Left Behind program is redesigned, with its major architects being classroom teachers, communities, museums, educators, parents, and students.
We must broaden and expand the parameters of the current, very narrow, test-preparatory curriculum. An exciting and diverse curriculum that stresses learning content, especially in the arts, sciences, and social studies, must be in the foreground.
Students, teachers, and communities will become engaged and motivated, while our students will be inspired to explore, investigate, and write about their newly found knowledge. We must not forget to ignite our nation's children's creativity, imaginations, and natural curiosity.
All God's children
I wish everyone to understand that we are worthwhile just as we live and breathe. Every baby is the sweetness of baby Jesus. Every word spoken a part of the communication between us. Every act of love the most important part of our living.
The poem "Desiderata" says we "are no less than the trees and stars," and we "have a right to be here." And "despite its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." I wish you a beautiful year!
Lower my taxes!
As a retiree living in the state with the highest property taxes in the nation, I can only wish that the New Jersey Legislature can balance the budget, lower taxes to a manageable level, and still enable communities to provide necessary services, such as adequate police and fire protection.
No more wars
My main wish for the holidays would be for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to end peacefully. I wish for the soldiers to come home to their families and no more lives to be lost.
I want the world to be at peace and the fighting to stop in all the countries where innocent people are being killed. Innocent lives are being lost, and they are mostly women and children.
I want peace for President Obama, and his family, and the nation, and unity among the political parties. I would like for the American people to stop bashing President Obama, and give him a fair chance like every other president.
Spread the love
My holiday wish for our nation would be to remove greed and hate from people's hearts and minds, and replace them with the real meaning of brotherly love and an honest concern for the welfare of our old and young citizens who need help.
It wouldn't cost much, just a willingness to change our attitudes and commitment, and to be there whenever an opportunity to do some good for someone comes our way.
Like snow on Christmas morning, let's coat our nation with a blanket of pure love, health, and peace on Earth for everyone to enjoy, everywhere.
Joseph N. Barbella
Home for all animals
I would wish for all the homeless animals to have good, kind, caring, loving homes. I would wish that 2011 finds no animals being killed because no one wanted them.
I know this is truly a dream, but can you imagine how wonderful it would be if everyone were kind to animals? Maybe the feeling would spread and we would start being kinder to each other throughout the city and on into the world.
We can learn so much from animals. Let us start with kindness to them, and then share it with everyone.
Gail C. Parker
No death penalty
I wish our country the courage to abolish the death penalty, an issue that today sets us apart from other democratic countries.
It is not a deterrent, and does not bring back the victim. The death penalty is an instrument used by dictators to terrorize their citizens. It has no place in a democracy.
Bring the boys home
For the nation, my wish would be that all our soldiers can come home from the wars to their families. It is an unending war in Afghanistan and Iraq; war to them is their way of living.
I spent three Christmases in Germany during the Berlin and Cuba crises. I missed being home dearly.
To end the current wars, and have these people live with one another without our guidance and fighting power, would be a miracle.
American mothers and fathers are losing their sons and daughters, or having them come home with missing limbs or post-traumatic stress disabilities.
George J. Walton
I used to think commentators like Bill O'Reilly went too far when they said Christmas was under attack. Then I read that the Christmas Village at City Hall had to drop "Christmas" from its title as ordered by the city's managing director.
Why? Because a handful of people took offense. Offense at what? At the right of others to celebrate their holiday? Doesn't diversity include Christians? Others can choose to celebrate Christmas in any way they wish, religious or not, or not at all. They know that.
One has to wonder at priorities when artists can portray the biblical Mary in dung or Jesus covered with ants, but it is the term Christmas that rouses the government to action.
A philly.com poll showed that more than 90 percent of respondents were not offended by the term "Christmas Village." My wish is that the majority start speaking up. We should be offended both by the erasure of "Christmas" from public spaces, and the government's presumption that our feelings do not matter.
In this age of political correctness and the force of a few contrarians, it has become uncomfortable for many of us Christians to fully enjoy the spirit of Christmas. My local bank no longer decorates. High schools have removed Christmas trees from their gym because a few people objected. Atheists posted an insulting anti-Christian sign above the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.
We are being forced to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Merchants have removed the word Christmas from their entrances. My holiday wish is that this nonsense stops and that the nonbelievers take joy in the joy that the believers feel. It might even give them enough of a warm, fuzzy feeling to say "Merry Christmas!"