DECEMBER 26, 1955
HYDE PARK—Christmas Day is here again and today our thoughts turn lovingly to all the members of our families and our friends. Those of us who are fortunate will have some of our family around us, but all of us will be able to send thought messages out across the world to wherever those we love may be.
Last Sunday our rector in Hyde Park emphasized the fact that we must not allow Christmas to become too commercialized and to lose for those of us who are Christians the religious aspects which make of it a really joyous day.
Because on this day Christians believe that a Saviour was given to the world who lived in this world for a time and by doing so assumed through His own suffering the pardon of our sins and gave all of us the assurance that repentance could mean complete forgiveness.
It must be true repentance, however, and humbleness which comes with true repentance must be the result.
On this day, therefore, the first and greatest thing for which we are thankful is the gift of the newborn Babe and the promise that in time we may achieve peace on earth and goodwill to men because of His teachings.
If all of us really strive to live up to those teachings many of the struggles and the sorrows that afflict us today will soon be a thing of the past.
But many Christmases have passed since this promise was given to the world and men are slow to learn and slow to achieve the humbleness and the gratitude which may bring them understanding and peace.
Nevertheless, as we look back through the ages each Christmas Day, I hope we can see some slight move forward. The most important thing is that we learn to love and not to hate, to return good for evil where it is possible to do so, to show mercy because we know how much we ourselves are in need of mercy.
In addition to the religious and spiritual side of Christmas, there are all the other customs and pleasant jovial times that have become a part of the Christmas celebration for many lands. Sometimes the feast is called by different names, but around this period almost all religions have some kind of customs and perfectly nonreligious festivals bring joy and gladness and light into many lives.
For our children Santa Claus may not be fully believed in as they grow older, but he is still a tradition that even those of us who are quite old would not like to give up. For as long as possible, I think Christmas stockings hung on a chimney should be kept up in young families.
I am sure that our young families at Hyde Park will continue to preserve this tradition for a long time. We have one young lady of three whom we all hope still believes in the reality of a sleigh drawn by reindeer and a jolly, fat Santa Claus sliding down the chimney.
To me Santa Claus will always be a reality as long as kindness and thoughtfulness exist between families and friends. So, I wish you all on this holy day a Merry Christmas and the joy of giving, for that is always greater than the joy of receiving.