Christmas Eve 2012 fell on a Monday, and we spent it at the usual Monday Meet-the-People session. There were fewer residents than usual, but I was so grateful that we had a full complement of volunteers who were prepared to sacrifice time for a cause.

The combination of a festive air and basic challenges of life gave us food for thought as we shared a meal after the session.

The most valuable blessings we have are a loving family, close friends, the hope for a better future and a meaningful life. Everything else is secondary. Happiness is not a ledger of possessions, events and achievements. Instead the joy of life is really an attitude – the ability to count our blessings, build deep relationships and to discover the purpose of our lives.

In this spirit of gratitude, I wish you all the blessings of Christmas and the hope for a better and happier New Year.