DECEMBER 25, 1947
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—This is the third Christmas—yes, the third—since the war came to an end, yet there are people still confined in camps in Europe, Africa and Asia. There are still many people, the world over, who see only darkly and uncertainly what the future may hold for them. At this season, when most of us gather together with our families, we must not forget these unfortunate ones.
No matter how much jolly old St. Nicholas may mean to children, there's a still greater meaning for young and old in the story of the Child who was born in a manger and lived His life as an example to His fellow men. We need to remember clearly the life of that Child born at this season so long ago. How would we receive Him if He were born again today? Would we be skeptics or would we follow Him?
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Some of the young people at the University of Geneva told me it was hard to be optimistic these days—much easier to think there was no chance of anything good emerging from this war-torn world. Christ must have wondered sometimes, as He looked into the future, how many centuries it would take for mankind to learn the lessons which He came to teach, and yet there is no despair in His teachings anywhere.
Somehow it seems to me that he who lacks the courage to be an optimist today is taking the easy road—the road which makes it possible for us to make excuses for our failures by saying there's no chance of success. Let us pray on this Christmas Day for the strength and the courage and the will to hold to the optimism which will make us fight to win the full victory which we began to win in the spring of 1945.
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While I was in Switzerland, the United States Minister, John Carter Vincent, and his wife took me on a visit to a private school for girls and one for boys. I must say that these Swiss schools, where sometimes youngsters from twenty to thirty nations are studying together, impress me as a good way to bring international understanding to children at an early age, since it's what people are like inside and not their race or religion that counts.
As I looked at Mr. Vincent's young daughter standing with a child from India on one side of her and a girl from Italy not far away, I thought she would remember in days to come—just as I have always remembered from my school days abroad—that every country has nice people if only you can prevent governments from creating dissension, suspicion and hate among peoples.