A principal of a school, a dear friend of mine, was telling me of an incident where he'd seen a girl crying outside her classroom: "I asked her what the matter was and she told me her cat had died. Did it have any kittens?" I asked. "Yes," said the little girl, her eyes gleaming, "She had two lovely kittens and they are at home." "Then be thankful for them!" said the principal, hugging the child.

And maybe that's how we need to bring this year to a close, by being thankful to God for what we've got with us and not sorrowful for what we've lost: A friend sent me these lovely lines which I'd like to share with you today:

‘Namaste!’ she said, as all of us in the New York church turned to greet whoever was sitting by our side on Christmas Eve. For a moment I was startled. I was thousands of miles away from home, and the last thing I imagined I’d hear was a ‘Namaste’!

She saw my surprise, and asked, “Aren’t you Indian?”

Met a friend of mine a few days ago and we spent some time chatting with each other. He had done pretty well for himself, with a business going great guns.

“You know Bob,” he said, “I grew up in Ahmedabad and when I told my family I was going to Mumbai for a job, they nearly had a fit. They asked me whether I was insane, whether I knew what I was doing. “They told me how it was near impossible to get accommodation in Mumbai, how traveling was terrible with the heavy rush, and how lonely the city could be for outsiders!”

I remember once zipping down the highway: What a drive! As I drove I noticed tire marks that crisscrossed the road. “Burst tires!” I realized. Tires of motorists who had not checked their air pressure before venturing onto the highway. I noticed that these tire markings veered onto the barricades on the side and spoke very clearly of major accidents in which driver and passenger had lost either limb or life. Tragedies which could have been averted, if motorist had checked the condition of the tire and air pressure before starting on his journey!

Just a hundred years ago, wars fought on battlefields, left men physically scarred, as even if they were fortunate to come home alive, they came wounded with either the loss of arm, leg, or even a mutilated face, plus horrors and traumas which sometimes never went away as night after night they relived the terrible scenes they had witnessed. During World War II as the Germans and English fought, Christmas dawned on the battlefield and the two armies decided on a truce.