As we end 2006 and step boldly into 2007, let's stop and count our blessings!
You'll read many reviews of the top stories of 2006, but here is a list of The Five Best Things of 2006:
1. Stunning Advances in Medicine: Scientists made stunning advances by inventing a handheld device that reads for the blind, learning how to make blind mice see again by transplanting retina cells, learning how to turn fat stem cells into muscle, learning how to grow new organs inside the body, making the first artificial liver, and learning how to grow heart valves for babies while still in the womb. (None of these advances involved embryonic stem cells.) A woman became the first to receive a "face transplant." A man received an mechanical heart that may last up to 10 years.
2. Disruption of Major Terror Plots: Several major terror plots were discovered and disrupted before hundreds or thousands of lives were lost, including a plot to bomb transatlantic airlines between London and the United States and a plot to bomb targets that included an office building in Canada.
3. The Deaths of Tyrants and Terrorists: Several terrorists and tyrants responsible for the deaths of many men, women and children abruptly met their maker, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Saddam Hussein. One top Palestinian terrorist who said, "They will never catch me," was killed the next day.
4. A Million Acts of Kindness: Among the millions of acts of kindness that happen every day, a community of bloggers wrote individual tributes to each and every victim of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Are there other major blessings we've shared in 2006? If you live in the United States and you're a Democrat, you'd probably count the new Democratic majority in Congress as one of your blessings. If you're a conservative, then perhaps you appreciate the confirmation to the Supreme Court of Justice Samuel Alito.
If you live in another country, you may have some additional blessings in mind, although you also share in the major blessings listed above.
Is this the whole picture for 2006? Of course not. There was trouble in 2006 as well. But it's important to remember our blessings and to consider whether some of our actions helped to bring those good things about. And then, onward with hope and courage into 2007.