Wishes of peace in a year of anger

In the midst of news reports that suggest the world is growing madder by the day, it feels a bit hollow as a news person to wish readers the peace of the season. But I do.

Time magazine declared Donald Trump its Person of the Year, but the real story of 2016 was Anger. It set the tone of a presidential campaign that was known more for its rancor than its ideas. Thousands were angry at the police over isolated violent confrontations with suspects. Just as many were just as angry with critics of the police. A racist rampage killed nine in a South Carolina church. Terrorist rampages around the world claimed lives from Brussels to Dallas. In one day alone just this week, an angry Turkish policeman killed a Russian diplomat over the tragedy in Aleppo, an angry Pakistani national killed 12 people on a rampage in Berlin and an unknown angry gunman injured three people in a rampage at an Islamic mosque in Zurich.

All this while anger seemed to melt into numb horror at the unspeakable tragedy unfolding in Syria.

In such an atmosphere, how do we celebrate with any sincerity the ideal of peace on earth, good will toward men? It is not easy, but for me, I take heart in knowing the ideal still dominates, and can be seen in everyday actions demonstrating the kindness and selflessness that people can show each other.

It was evident in a gentleman who walked into our offices last week to donate to our Believe Project. It was evident in the gift of a home by caring individuals to a suffering Naperville war veteran last week and a similar act in Round Lake Beach a couple of weeks before. It was evident in a simple Santa breakfast to raise money for the needy at the American Legion Hall in Palatine, in a drive by Arlington Heights eighth‐graders to pack meals for hungry people around the world, in a variety of donations and activities undertaken at schools in Elgin Area Unit District 46 to provide shoes, clothing, meals and groceries for suburban families in need, and in countless similar drives by citizens, churches, schools and community agencies,

Such news stories cannot possibly cancel out the bitterness and outrage that stain our politics and dishevel our world. But it is comforting to know that they exist in their many millions here and around the globe, and that if an accounting could be made, it would surely show that they are far more numerous than the acts of hatred, selfishness and violence that so alarm us.

So, with our celebration of peace, joy and hope just three days away, I commend such stories as these to your attention. In our weekend prayers, we must surely remember the countless victims of rage suffering in our midst and across the face of the earth, but let’s equally remember the countless acts of selfless generosity surrounding us every day.

It is not an insult to the grievous one to honor the loving other, and we need to remember, perhaps this year more than most, that it is through nurturing the love that we conquer the grief and anger. May the stories that help you do that be the ones that attract your attention and move your passions this holiday season. Merry Christmas.

Jim Slusher, [email protected], is an assistant managing editor at the Daily Herald. Follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jim.slusher1 and on Twitter at @JimSlusher