Thoughts on Christmas

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steele coddingtonMerry Christmas! As I've mentioned for several years as Christmas draws nigh, it's a privilege to refer to a special editorial published by The Wall Street Journal every year at Christmas since it was written in 1949. The author was the late Pulitzer Prize winning editor Vermont Royster. His editorial starts by describing the misery, depravity and hopelessness of civilization and life conditions brought about by corruption, cruelty and contempt for human life under Tiberius Caesar at the time of Christ's birth. But the darkness of despair was changed when, "Of a sudden, there was a light in the world," as he described the birth of Christ, and ultimately, "The voice from Galilee," offering a new Kingdom that spread His Gospel throughout the world.

The message is expressed often in the New Testament and the significant reference by Royster is to the Apostle Paul. While addressing his brethren the Galatians he speaks with hope, but with caution, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty where-with Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

I think the objective of Royster's editorial is simply to remind people that the blessing of Christ is always there, even in a not very nice world. But he presents the warning that the possibility of darkness is ever-present and can "Settle again over the lands and there would be burning of books and men would think only of what they should wear and give heed only to new Caesars and false prophets."

He's right. It's easy to lose the spiritual message of Christmas and many find it difficult to find the light that appeared in Bethlehem thousands of years ago. The world is full of people asking, "Where is this man, Christ? I can't find him. Is he really there?" Maybe the answer for those lost or without hope is closer than they think. The simple possibility is that His presence is always with you. He's eternally in your heart. Every day His voice is heard whenever someone is remarkably, unselfishly kind, or reaches out to someone who needs help, or gives comfort to another soul in distress.

I think Royster would agree that for centuries Christ has been there as the spirit within us, waiting for us to realize that His message of freedom only needs us to see inside ourselves. So maybe another of the joys of Christmas is the awakening realization that the greatest gift you can give yourself is finding out what's really in your heart.