This year, we’ve seen so much that would damper the faith of many. However, this Christmas, I genuinely believe that the Central Coast’s best days are ahead of us.

I often say that I’m not tall enough to look at the glass as half empty. Through every stretch of adversity in life, our strength and resilience are tested. Among other things this year, the drought and the Thomas Fire prove no different.

Through our struggles, we’ve felt the impacts on our economy, our families and our bottom line. We’ve all seen the effects of skyrocketing costs for a tank of gas to our utility bills. All while businesses close their doors due to overregulation and crippling taxes, taking jobs out of California.

Yet, I remain optimistic.

You may wonder why I see the glass half full in a world of uncertainty. It’s because of you. Throughout the holiday season, we’re reminded that in a world full of disaster and turmoil, we have our faith, our family and friends that get us through – and I’m especially reminded of this as I’ve watched our community pull together during recent weeks.

Our compassion and charity, as a community—for strangers and neighbors alike—has shone like a candle in the dark. Thousands of firefighters have come to our aid, willing to sacrifice all for our sake. In turn, our community put aside our troubles and came together, showing love to these brave men and women. Many of you have given to charity and consoled a neighbor in a time of anxiousness and fear. Some of you have taken in a distant relative or even a person you’ve never known and given them shelter.

This is who we are. This is the spirit of the Central Coast. This is the embodiment of our values.

My friend, I’m proud to know you. I’m blessed to stand with you, and I’m honored to consider you an ally in this fight. I know that, together, we can and will make this next year a success! Through our resilience, we will bring our communities back to prosperity.

Let us remember the spirit of Christmas and know that, although we’ve been tested and stand before a mountain to climb, we can and will persevere. Let our resolve become a beacon of hope to all who are weak and weary. Let us be an example of a glass that is more than half full, overflowing with a spirit of service.

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year.

God Bless,

Justin Fareed