God rest ye merry, Gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay

This counsel is hard to follow; there is much to dismay us. Christmas celebrates thr birth of Christ and the Holy Family, la Sagrada Familia in Spanish. Yet Christ is being displaced by Santa Clauses, trained to inveigle small children into wheedling their parents into buying something from the store which pays the fat rogues.  At the same time many stores are banning Salvation Army personnel who are collecting money for the poor, a truly Christian enterprise. The owners of these merchandise chains pay themselves large salaries while keeping their employees‚ wages at the lowest possible level This is not just an American phenomenon.  It has become a major issue in France. Scrooges in business suits. Capitalism is under scrutiny worldwide. Quite apart from common decency, this is terrible public relations.

In all of this,Christ is forgotten. He has been interpreted in various ways. Those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible  take the Bible story literally. The search for the historical Jesus has led to Higher Criticism and the demythologizing of the Christ story. This is usually very respectful of Christ and his teachings.  However, a French anticlerical wrote a four volume work to prove that Christ was mad. After surveying how man‚s search for worldly glory has marred human history, I am convinced that Christ was eminently sane. Christ was the Jews‚ gift to the world: a light to lighten the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.  Jews have every reason to resent the treatment they have suffered in the so-called Christian world, but they should be proud of Christ, even though they may reject his divinity and the Trinity.

This is also the season of the Holy Family, the Sagrada Familia as it is known in Spanish. Again, this may be symbolism, but for those of us who view the family as the building block of society it is an important symbol. Far too many families are failures.  In Spain a report has been issued on the appalling number of men who beat or even kill their wives or companions. New equipment is being distributed to ensure that they stay away from their once significant other. In such circumstances the children suffer, and worst of all defenseless babies.  Christmas should remind us of the sanctity of these young lives, who need a loving family.  How to reform the family is one of the most pressing of society‚s problems.  It is a global problem, immensely difficult to solve,

How can we not be dismayed by what is going on in Iraq and in the Middle East generally?  For a variety of reasons, modern terrorists are mostly Muslim. For Christ the default position was peace, For Mohammed, evil should be eradicated by jihad.  The problem is that a jihad produces a counter  jihad, which is what Western forces are engaged in now in Iraq.  Peace on earth, good will toward men.

Would people please remember what Christmas is all about?

Your comments are invited. Read the home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on: Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: December 26, 2004