As we bring to a close another year, with all its gifts and challenges I am reminded that although many of us live our lives in a state of bounty, there are many who do not. Moreover, there are many people around the world who make being of service to others, the focal point of their lives. To those many, many individuals I would like to extend and share my thanks as this world cannot exist in any meaningful way without them and their families who also share this service in some way or another. But who we are to each other does depend on our ability to communicate and understand each other on a meaningful basis. One of the ironies in this age of “communication technologies” is our ability to do just that.

In spite of the way technology is shaping and taxing our lives and the way we connect with each other, we must remember that regardless of our technological capacity, our accomplishments, or our wealth, that it is always our family, friends and community who are most valuable to us.

As 2012 draws to a close and we examine our hopes and dreams for the future it is my fervent wish that we as a species will not let unfettered technology eclipse and interfere with our humanity – that we’ll talk to the person sitting next to us, rather than text them, listen to a concert with our cameras and phones deep in our pockets, earnestly reach out to our fellow human beings and appreciate the richness and complexity of what it means to be human – to truly and deeply connect – and to be of service to others.

It was wonderful to meet so many of you on our touring road this year and our hope is it will not be too long before we can do so again.

I would like to extend to one and to all, my sincerest and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. No matter what your religious affiliation happens to be, may the virtue of love extend throughout this holiday season and beyond in the years to come.