DECEMBER 25, 1952
HYDE PARK—We have come to another Christmas, and I fear we are going to come to many more when we will still find ourselves living in a troubled world.
Many will be saddened by the fact that war still goes on in Korea and fighting is still severe in other areas. There are still troubles in the Near East and in Africa. In fact, we are far from achieving goodwill among men.
But the mere fact that we celebrate each year the birth of the Christ Child should bring us joy at this season. For the message of those who heralded His birth still goes forth on every Christmas Eve to remind the world that He was born and that we can renew our efforts to achieve the highest ideals of man which came to us with His birth so many years ago.
"Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men." What a wonderful message, that is and why is it that we never have achieved it here on earth?
Scientists tell us that our earth has been in existence some three millions years and that it probably will continue to be in existence for another three hundred million years before it blows up and disappears. So, perhaps, men have sufficient time before them to attain the perfection that they long for. All that each one us can do is to pledge ourselves on this Christmas to strive for peace and goodwill in our own small circle of influence.
All things have to begin and grow. Therefore, we can never tell whether we will be the kernel or one of the many kernels that will start this growth for the world. If we insist in our own community and in our own country on wiping out the cause of dissension and discrimination, which bring about unhappiness and a sense of inequality of opportunity; if we learn the value of human personality and the individual, then in our own country we will be moving forward toward achieving the elements that make peace on earth.
Christmas is primarily a religious festival but, because so many of the people who came to our country brought with them customs from their native lands, it is not celebrated merely as a religious festival. It is a day of giving, and I like to have it this way so long as the giving does not become a burden.
A certain amount of last-minute excitement of wrapping packages is full of enjoyment for most people. But to have it become a season during which you do not get that joy because you are too weary or too harassed is something to be avoided. It spoils not only the conception of Santa Clause, that jolly old gentleman who exudes merriment and pleasure, but also you lose the quiet peace of the religious conception of joy—that a Christ Child came into the world to preach the principles of living that could bring to all men peace and goodwill.
Let us firmly resolve, therefore, that this shall be a happy Christmas, one in which we enjoy our families and our friends and our giving, and in which we have time to think of how we can do more to achieve the promise of that Christmas Eve of so long ago.