DECEMBER 25, 1940
THE WHITE HOUSE, Tuesday—Christmas Eve is for me one of the busiest days of the year, and for many other people it must be the same, whether they are housewives preparing for their family Christmas celebration or busy executives preparing for celebrations on a wider scale.
One thing I think we should all remember no matter how busy we are, Christmas was meant to bring us a spirit of calm. The shepherds would never have heard the angels if they had not been sitting in calm and quiet watching their flocks. So, sometime on Christmas Eve, let us try to clear our spirit to be in a receptive mood for the Christmas message.
It is a joyous message, one that should bring consolation and good cheer to the suffering people of the world. It is hard to say the usual "Merry Christmas" to people whose liberty is gone; whose lives are temporarily directed by alien people; for under the circumstances merriment does not seem possible. The old time greeting however, "Christ is born, rejoice for He shall save the world." Can still bring comfort to sorely tried souls.
When one suffers, whether personally or through others, the tendency is to be bitter against those who cause the suffering. No one could have agonized more than Christ Himself as He realized what human beings must bring upon themselves through the years, by their stupidity and greed, and yet nowhere in His preaching is there any tinge of bitterness. I have come to fell that, on this Christmas Day, perhaps that lesson of charity toward others is the most important lesson we can take unto ourselves, for it keeps us from indulging in bitterness of spirit.
I was re-reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Christmas Sermon last night, and I think the reiteration ourselves in order that we may not be too hard on others would be good for some of us to remember. One particular quotation in that simple, charming essay has always been a favorite of mine and I pass it along o you on this Christmas Day as worthy of our consideration.
To be honest, to be kind—to earn a little and to spend a little less, to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence, to renounce when that shall be necessary and not the embittered, to keep a few but these without capitulation-above all, on the same grim condition, to keep friends with himself—here is a task for all that a man has of fortitude and delicacy. He has an ambitious soul who would ask more; he has a hopeful spirit who should look in such an enterprise to be successful."
May your Christmas season be one of calm joy. Let us pray together that we remember our obligations to others during the coming year, that we keep from all bitterness and have equal charity for those whom we consider in the wrong as for those we fell as fighting the battle of righteousness. May we be given the grace to walk humbly and to spread kindness along our way.