DECEMBER 25, 1943
HYDE PARK—"The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it." (William James). The best illustration that I can think of which proves the truth of William James' thought is this day when we celebrate.
Christmas day is the day on which Christ was born. Every Christmas we should reread that story of the baby who lay in a manger because his parents could find nowhere else to stay. His life is told in a few brief chapters of the New Testament and if anyone ever "spent" their life, He did even before the final sacrifice.
All these years after we still celebrate His birthday because He "spent" His life so well. He must have had times when He wondered whether He as doing anything that would outlast His day. For part of His sacrifice seems to have been that in spite of the flashes of insight which carried him beyond this world, for the most part. He lived and suffered all the uncertainties and limitations of the ordinary human being. So His triumph was the proof that in every human being there is something divine if only one can keep the faith which carried Christ through His final sacrifice.
Through the years we have added to our Christmas celebration many things which are merely Christmas customs, but which have nothing to do with the spiritual side of the festival. I enjoy these things and want them all remembered and observed, but I hope we will never forget that the basis of everything else on this day in the year is the story of the Christ Child and it should always have a part in our celebration. Christmas is a time when every family should develop its own customs and traditions. I have always loved the Christmas carols and like to have them sung as often as possible through the Christmas season.
In many homes this year there will be sadness because of empty seats around the family table. Some of these seats may be permanently empty. but the symbol of Christmas is eternal giving and words will ring our ears: "He that loseth His life for my sake shall find it."
Hope should rise in every heart for the story of Christ is a triumphant story. Down through the ages the spirit which He died to keep alive has lived. In every saddened home as the Christmas bells ring out, the determination should be strengthened to bring to this earth those things for which Christ died. By His [?] he made it possible for humanity to continue striving for a better world.