I wish you a happy and safe holiday.

The holiday season is a time of celebration and giving, a time to gather and reflect upon the many blessings bestowed upon us — especially our family, friends and community. The season fills our hearts with gratitude, and a responsibility to reach out to others.

As I write this, Susan and I await the arrival of our son, coming home for the holidays from college on the East Coast. We haven’t seen him in months. And though we communicate through texting, e-mails and Web phone, it’s just not the same.

Growing up, my parents always emphasized the importance of giving and remembering others. Though we had our struggles and trying times, there was always love in our hearts, food on the table and presents under the tree. I have wonderful memories of my family gatherings. And though we had bright lights, decorations on the tree and holiday cheer, Mom and Dad always remembered the many families less fortunate.

Now is the time to help your neighbors, your friends and to think about people, families and children you have never met. There is truly something magical about the holidays and the joy of delivering an unexpected gift, whether it is food, a warm coat, a toy or a loving smile.

This is also a time of inspiration and hope for the coming new year. We see joy in the eyes and faces of our children, along with the possibilities of what tomorrow may bring. Because of the challenges facing so many Americans, now more than ever, we must come together and find solutions. Tomorrow must be the promise of a bright future.

And with hope, may there be peace — a noble goal we should continue to strive to achieve. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the many men and women in the armed services who are spending this holiday season far from home and away from their families, bravely serving in order to make this world a better, safer place. Our nation would not be kept more secure, but for their sacrifices, and we are grateful for their service.

Again, I want to wish you a happy holiday — one filled with hope and joy. I encourage you to cherish this time with your family and friends.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava
California District 35