We wish all our readers and subscribers, our advertisers and the many businesses and organizations that we report about each week the very best at this blessed time of year.

We have but one Christmas wish for everyone this year: that each and every one of us puts aside our biases, our prejudices and our differences, and that we instead focus on all the many things that we share in common. By doing this, our community and our nation could heal the deep divisions that have only grown wider throughout 2021.

We realize this is not an easy thing to do because each of us fiercely holds on to the beliefs about which we are passionate. We can start by taking a deep breath and practicing empathy and tolerance. We can start by empathizing with others who hold different opinions and realizing that their beliefs are just as valid as our own and that they feel just as passionately as we do about politics or religion or current events or cultural issues.

Then, we can take a step outside of our comfort zones, and we can make the effort to engage in meaningful conversations with those whose beliefs are so different from our own. That may mean inviting folks over to dinner and encouraging them to share their beliefs, then taking the time to kindly and quietly explain our own. That may mean calling up a friend who has drifted away because of politics and going out for coffee and finding all the things that you both still share.

Some of us want to Make America Great Again while some of us believe America Is Great But Can Still Be Improved. If we were to talk about these perspectives, we could find the middle ground in between and then work to make that middle ground a growing space.

We can also start healing by toning down the volume and heat of the words we use. We can avoid sweeping generalities. We can only talk about people and events of which we have first-hand knowledge. We can avoid loaded phrases like “I hate ...” or “all [fill in the blank] are bad.” And, if we are users of social media, we can swear off posting negative memes, which often present inaccurate, out-of-context information that is misleading and often cruel.

We can also commit to honoring our state and national constitutions by pledging not to call for violence or arms against our fellow citizens. No one’s blood should be shed to resolve our differences as a nation. We should use the tools and powers that we have as American citizens to bring about change that is supported by the majority through the ballot box and legislative measures.

Let’s all work to give this gift to each other this Christmas and let’s commit to finding our common ground and working to find centrist solutions to problems that affect us all.