DECEMBER 26, 1950
HYDE PARK, Monday—Today is Christmas Day, and no matter how we feel, this must be the traditionally joyous day of the year for children. In many, many homes grave anxiety will exist. My heart goes out to the women whose husbands, sons, brothers and other loved ones may either be engaged in combat or in preparation for the dangers of the future.
It has traditionally been the role of women to wait and weep as their men carried on the business of the world. I find in my mail, however, an increasing reluctance on the part of women to accept this role. The women want to do something to prevent the scourge of war. It would have to be a "united doing," and at the present moment it is hard to think how the women of the non-Communist world can break through the Iron Curtain and have any heart-to-heart and free intercourse with the women shut off in the Communist world. But there is every reason why women who are determined to have a part in shaping the policies of our day should be watchfully waiting for an opportunity to speak to the women of the USSR and of the satellite countries, as well as to the women of China.
One way that our women can prepare themselves is to study the history and background of these countries, and particularly the position of women in these countries up to the present time. That will prepare them better to talk in understandable terms to their sisters in other lands whenever the opportunity does arise. In the meantime, in the countries where women are free and can take part in their government, they should make sure that every move made by their government is fully understood by them. Those who carry the burden of seeing democracy lived at home should take an active part in their communities in order that they may bring about the brotherhood of man—that respect for the human personality and that freedom and responsibility of the individual which lie at the base of all democracy. Here is a great work and a great challenge for the women of our free world.
I want to take this opportunity to tell the many, many people—both known and unknown friends—who have sent me such warm and heartening messages this Christmas, how grateful I am. In the case of old friends, it was good to see their names and have their greetings. It felt like a clasping of hands which time and space have not permitted too often in the past year. Where the thought came from people whom I do not really know, I am particularly grateful, for it means that there are new contacts of thought and feeling that have been made between us during the past year. My thanks go to all those who remembered me and mine this Christmas.
In spite of the gloom about us, may the religious joy of the coming of the Christ Child be in our hearts and may the Christmas season prepare us all to live and create a happier new year.