In an ideal world -- and right now, we're far from it -- the Christmas holiday season would bring absolute joy and peace.
But as is abundantly obvious, our world is not ideal and for some, there will be no joy and for others no peace.
If you're worried about your economic problems or those of your kids, then it's hard to generate joy as you face the upcoming obstacles.
And you need not read past the headlines to recognize that peace in this world is fleeting. Anytime American soldiers are in harm's way, then peace remains elusive.
So as it was pointed out to me this week, you find joy in smaller issues and you make your own peace.
Maybe it's just human nature or perchance it's limited to me. But it's often easy to forget for a moment the countless blessings in our lives that should bring joy and instead focus on the bigger picture which may be less than bright.
Maybe instead of bemoaning the conflict that puts Americans in conflict abroad we should instead be grateful that those conflicts have not reached our shores.
Yet human nature goads us to want it all. We want joy in both the large issues of life and the smaller, daily issues. And it's easy to argue that if there is not peace everywhere, there is not peace anywhere.
I'm reminded this week by a mother of a son soon to be deployed to the Mideast that virtually all conflicts can and will eventually touch us in some way. As easy as it is this holiday season to ignore the conflicts in the Mideast, someone you know is viewing those conflicts on a far more personal level.
And how do you ask this mother to dwell on the theme of Peace on Earth when she knows daily that her son faces no peace every hour of every day?
Perhaps I'm just being too philosophical as the Christmas season unfolds. Maybe that too is a part of human nature.
All I know is this -- joy and peace comes from within. Circumstances may push you into a dark corner and joy and peace may only seem like holiday slogans.
But if we look beyond the daily grind, we each have something to be grateful for and to bring us both joy and peace.