DECEMBER 25, 1942
WASHINGTON—How completely the character of Christmas has changed this year. I could no more say to you: "A Merry Christmas" without feeling a catch in my throat than I could fly to the moon! We all know that for too many people this will be anything but a Merry Christmas. It can, however, be a Christmas Season of deep meaning to us all.
The Christmas Story is a reminder to us of a life so unselfish, so completely lived in the interests of other people that there was no room in it anywhere for thought of self. Christ knew that at the end of His life He would have to pay the supreme sacrifice, and yet He was willing to make that sacrifice in order that life might have a little more meaning and a little more hope for His brothers and sisters in the world of His day and forever thereafter.
Many of the young people today are doing their jobs in the present world crisis with exactly the same hope in their hearts, and it is this spirit of divine sacrifice and love for your fellow human beings which gives to the Christmas Season its real spiritual significance.
Whatever our particular religious beliefs may be, we still can feel a share in this Christmas spirit and try to do our part at this Season by making life just a little bit brighter wherever we touch it. So many families will be divided, so many people will find their hearts hovering over faraway places, that it will be hard even to keep "a smiling face" as Robert Louis Stevenson admonished us to do.
You will perhaps remember the story of the man who had nothing in the world to give and so he always gave a smile, and when he reached St. Peter's gate, the little Angels that welcomed him in were the happy thoughts that he had inspired by his smile.
I am going as usual on Christmas morning to a church service and then I hope to have time for a flying visit to Walter Reed Hospital to the wards where some of our returned wounded from Africa are being treated. After that I will stop for a few minutes at the YWCA where they are having a Christmas dinner for Government workers who are strangers in Washington and who have no family connections here. This seems to me a very nice gesture for the YWCA to make, and I am glad to be given the opportunity to stop in for a few minutes to wish them all a pleasant day, before returning to our own family concerns for the rest of the day.