It’s time to reflect on individual and collective values

The year is drawing to a close and we’re in the midst of a season of miracles. Christmas was yesterday and Hanukkah is ongoing. These are times when two of the world’s major faith traditions celebrate miracles and the world seems filled with magic.

This is a good time to reflect on what kind of magic we can bring into the world and to consider, as we move into a new year, — and a new decade — who we are as individuals and as a society. What do we claim to value? And, in practice, do we live by those values?

Are we prepared to “Love ye therefore the stranger,” and to acknowledge that “the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself”?

Do we give meat to the hungry and drink to the thirsty? Do we clothe the naked? How do we treat the least among us? For, after all, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

The way we treat each other matters. It matters here, in the community we want to live in, as well as the country and world we’re apart of. We often think of these exhortations as rules to live by as we work toward the attainment of some future glory and reward.

However, if we truly have these values, if we’re truly ready to “mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort,” and to “bear one another’s burdens that they may be light,” we need to look at how we interact with others in the here and now.

We should review the policies we embrace. Do the people we support in office share these values? Do they enact them in their councils and their legislation? It’s a good time to review our approach and values.