DECEMBER 25, 1941
WASHINGTON—There are few homes in this country or probably anywhere in the world where this will be a merry Christmas. Germany, from whence once came so many of the most delightful Christmas customs, which we all observe, can hardly observe them this year with much merriment. For years the German nation has been sacrificing for what at best could be but a very empty victory. The control of other peoples through fear and force, can never bring any real satisfaction.
And now the sacrifices are likely to be not only greater than ever before, but to have less meaning, because instead of victory, there are the rumblings of a slow but sure defeat.
I am more concerned at this time with the hope that we in this country may preserve the spirit which lies back of Christmas and remember above everything else that when wars cease goodwill to men must be paramount in our minds and in our actions. Without the ability on our part to keep free of bitterness towards the peoples of the world, we cannot hope to build a new order which shall give to peoples an opportunity to live together in peace and justice, and yet control the aspirations which men may have for power when they are at the heads of governments, and are not too responsive to the voice of their people.
In the Christmas story, there is much food for thought for all of us, and in the whole New Testament, which tells the story of a perfect life, I think there are to be found some principles of conduct which may perhaps be wise guides for our own conduct in these coming years. Because we expect to come out of this struggle still a strong nation and able to help other nations to build up their resources again, we will have to watch ourselves and remain willing to serve, but not to control. This is no easy role to play, and it seems to me that much of our ability to carry it through rests with the younger generation and their understanding of the value placed by Christ on the individual. He never asked the race, the creed or the color of any individual when He could ameliorate their lot in any way.
If at this Christmas season we can think of this whole story as a guide to our own future conduct as individuals and as a nation, we may be able to bring about a world in which there is "Peace on earth, goodwill toward men."