DECEMBER 25, 1944
WASHINGTON, Sunday—On this Christmas Eve I would like to send a message to the many men and women in this country who, with heavy hearts, approach this Christmas Day. Preparations for another joyous Christmas for the children must go on in many homes where sorrow has visited during the past months. It will probably be most difficult for the women since they do the little things which either make or mar Christmas Day. If they cannot bear to plan for the usual festivities, for the singing of Christmas carols, for the Christmas tree, because certain loved ones will be absent, some perhaps never to return, the women, mothers, wives and sweethearts, can make of this a gloomy season.
No one can take the ache of loss or the gnawing of anxiety out of their heart, but everyone will find that the effort to simulate something of the usual Christmas joy, will bring its own reward.
The religious side of Christmas will perhaps bring more healing to sad hearts than can any other time of the year, for this is the time when we remember to celebrate the coming to the world of a symbol. The life of Christ is the symbol of the perfect kind of love, the love which should rule the world. It is also the symbol for which all good men from time immemorial have given their lives. Men rarely fight and die for an individual benefit. It is usually because of loyalty to a group or a nation, and perhaps it is always in the hope that something better will come out of their sacrifice. That is, after all, the whole story of Christ's life, something better was to come out of His sacrifice for mankind.
If on this Christmas Eve, men and women who sorrow, can think primarily that those who have gone, went gladly, just as Christ did in the hope that something better would come to mankind, then with this conviction in their hearts, they can feel that there is a purpose and a reason in living. Those who have gone handed on to us their job here on earth to finish and one of the evidences that that job is being well done is that everywhere around us, in our communities wherever we can touch individuals or groups, some increased hope and joy shall come from what we do. That is the only way we can make this Christmas Day have any real meaning. That is the only way in which some people can face the future with any buoyancy of spirit.
God grant that on this Christmas night we hear again "The Angels' Song," "Peace on Earth," "Goodwill to Men," and that we work with whatever powers we have to make it ever increasingly a reality in our own particular sphere of influence.