This Christmas eve as we take stock of global conflicts, agreements and the future, we have many reasons to be concerned and many reasons to hope.
The Pope has just finished brokering an agreement between the United States and Cuba, ending a 50-year embargo and providing hope to the Cuban people even if some U.S. politicians are dismayed. The Vatican seems to have adopted a new policy of tolerance that bodes well for the world as a whole.
On the other hand, we have seen the first manifestation of an Islamic caliphate in the success of Isis and its control of a large swath of territory in Iraq and Syria. Despite U.S. airstrikes, it appears to be holding its own in a brutal government controlling often reluctant citizens.
Of course, Christmas is all about peace and love, but we can look at the glass as half empty or half full. A major climate change agreement between the United States and China makes a global treaty more likely, and global warming may transcend all other issues because the future of the planet is at stake.
And the U.S. economy is starting to grow more rapidly, offering hope to the rest of the world who still rely on the United States in many ways. In sum, the year 2015 shows promise for many reasons with a few trouble spots to concern us.