Upstairs there are shreiks and laughter as I write this. My daughter is playing with her two friends. Of course there have been minor disputes, two against one, one against two. Three's a crowd kind of thing. But not one of their skirmishes has been anything serious. Certainly nothing about their different skin colors or religious origins.
My daughter is half-French and half-American, blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Her little girl friend is Muslim, of Tunisian descent, with dark curly hair. The little boy is half-Chinese and half-French. The only time they have ever talked about religion was when Juliette and the girl both said that Santa Claus was in heaven. There is some skepticism about Santa himself. That is as close to theology as they have ever gotten.
I wish they could stay as blissfully ignorant about things as they are today. At eight years old they are united by play, by the pursuit of fun. They are not divided by their differences. They don't even care.
I have a wish this Christmas season. And for beyond that time. It's the same wish I've expressed after each terrorist attack. And now I have that same wish after this election. A wish for kindness, peace and understanding between cultures.
There is ugly proof that hate is on the rise. Towards anyone with darker skin, different origins, a head scarf, different sexual orientation. And even if I am none of these things, I feel their pain. And I don't want my America to be a hateful place.
I may not live there anymore, and of course, even in France there are racial issues and prejudice. Extreme right parties are gaining in popularity over here.
But I continue to believe, perhaps a little naïvely, that peace and harmony are possible. And that it begins in each simple interaction we have with our fellow human beings. A warm smile, an extended hand, an honest conversation among people with different views and backgrounds.
I don't claim to be perfect. I succumb to stereotypes sometimes like everyone else. But I am hopeful when I see my little girl jump with glee to see her friends even if they aren't exactly like her.
Let us see again with our childish hearts the potential in our neighbors and strangers on the street. Let us see past appearances and see inside to that which is essential.
So like the song says. Let there be peace on earth. Let it begin with me. And you.