DECEMBER 25, 1951
HYDE PARK—There was one other occasion some years ago, in 1947 to be exact, when I worked on the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and kept everyone else working as hard as it was possible to work, so as to get home for Christmas. This year I had nothing to do with the date when I could start for home. The Christmas recess was set to begin on December 22nd, and because of Ambassador Austin's illness which took him home somewhat earlier, I was not able to leave until the evening of December 22nd.
Christmas is a time, I think, when all of us long to be at home, and for those who have no home, it is a time when if possible, other homes should be open to them. The whole Christmas story I believe, emphasizes the value of family and the family relationship. The Saviour, sent into this world as a helpless baby, but announced by the Angels as He who would preach the doctrine by which the people of the world might save themselves is reborn each Christmas Day. For us He was to suffer martyrdom in expiation of our sins, to show the supreme love of man for men and of the father for his children. That idea, of course, has been preserved in the structure of all family life. The family is closely knit together to emphasize the fact that they are not just single individuals, but interdependent and the failures or successes of each are shared by all.
Gradually we are learning that this story that began to be taught to us by the birth of a baby so many centuries ago, and the traditions which that life brought into the world, are now broadening into the interdependence of nations. If we believe that where men of pure heart do their work in the world, it results in the developing gradually of a pattern which is part of a master plan, then we must believe that those things which have tended to draw nations closer together to bring us more intercommunication in thought and in physical contact, must be used to develop the kind of human beings and that way of life which the great spiritual teachers of the world have preached in different parts of the world. Our lessons have come to us from the life of Christ. Great numbers of people take theirs from the teachings of Mohammet or Budda or some other prophet, but in almost every case these are the teachers and the one God gives up to the opportunity to follow His plan. We fail and struggle but each year for those of us who are Christians, on Christmas Day with the birth of Christ we renew our faith and our hopes. We can wipe out the past, we can begin again. We can pledge ourselves anew to follow the teachings of Christ, to live as nearly as we can as He bade us live in love and charity towards our neighbor and in devotion to God. We can hear again the Angels announcing His coming to the shepherds as they watched their flocks and to the three Great Kings of the Orient, and with this same faith and humility they showed, we can rejoice in the birth of a child who taught us love by living and dying for all of mankind.