Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! The end of the year is approaching. Once more, everybody starts remarking how quickly time went by since last Christmas. By the way, it is a frequent topic in the conversation at this time of the year, because, doubtless another Christmas is already here yet again. What is so special about Christmas? What happens at Christmas? And what difference does this celebration make for me (and for the world)? Apparently, what happens is that a wave of good intentions and hope shines above this world - so full of upsetting news - that surrounds us. Christmas renews our faith in the promise of hope of peace on Earth. Every human heart yearns for the Christmas spirit, which distinguishes itself for goodness, generosity, forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, peace, good will, warm friendships. Christmas is the time of the year where we gather families together, indulging in memories about friends we haven't seen for a long time; it is also when we benefit from the company of those closest to us and feel - particularly - the distance that separates us from those we love. Throughout Christmas Season, we celebrate the best inside us, reiterating commitments in keeping principles of justice, harmony, friendship, love. Above all, Christmas represents peace, an item I firmly believe is possible to reach, in spite of many world leaders' opinion, who still revolve their dominions around the suffering of meaningless wars (attitudes with which only weapons manufacturers can rejoice!). This Christmas... I would like that certain men and women of good faith persevere in making everything they can to assure that next year does not start with an agonizing choice on the possibility of "needing or not" another war! I would also like to discover (and to pass ahead) several responsible ways for all men to live in harmony... as truthful human beings. It would please me incalculably to celebrate the hope of peace, despite the continuous conflicts, despite fear and suspicion, hatred and wars, abuse and greed, because our world is filled with cruel cultures that exclude, annihilate, frightens and violate (in the most unusual forms) those who identify themselves to their followers as different. It is alarming how many people devote themselves to an incredible assortment of behaviors, justifying themselves that they do what they do "in the name of God". Perhaps... I should place all those wishes of mine in a list for Santa Claus. However, I strongly believe in the power of Christmas spirit. Furthermore, above all, I am an inveterate optimist. Therefore... I wish all Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Christians, Buddhists, Spiritists, etc... a serene and safe Christmas, with more harmony, more love, peace and equality between all inhabitants of the world. I also wish, to all above mentioned (as well to those I forgot to mention) a really happy, prosperous, brighter New Year. In conclusion, a more hopeful year, full of joys for each one of you... in this distraught and hopeful global village of ours!