A Christmas message to all our readers

For some months now the Monitor has been thinking about its 75th anniversary. We have looked back and surveyed the years; we have looked forward, anticipating this paper's contribution to the future. Sometimes looking back provides a unique perspective for looking ahead.

We are also looking within the considering the significance of our full name -- keeping clearly in view the "Christian" that commemorates the supreme figure in history, whose unique vision spanned the centuries.

Surely Christmas speaks to us -- even to those who are not Christians -- of the transforming impact of that vision on human history. It speaks of the continuing power of the spirit of Christ to dissolve the fears which would weigh mankind down in hopelessness.

When we study the Gospels, we can almost hear Jesus speaking to us as he did to his disciples when their boat tossed in a strong sea: "Be not afraid." We can hear him saying what he said when Jairus' daughter was reported dead but later revived at his command: "Be not afraid." We can hear him giving the same compassionate command he gave his followers when they saw his dramatic transfiguration or when he appeared to them after the resurrection: "Be not afraid." Might not his message to those of us reaching out for security today be the same as the message those in his day needed? "Christ's keynote of harmony," wrote Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, is "'Be not afraid!'"

Surely, too, he would make, great demands on our sense of justice, on our humanity, above all on our response to God's love. And taking these demands seriously and fulfilling them, humanity would find that the way of the Master truly ism the way through what appears to be a maze of insoluble problems -- including environmental decay, hunger, deteriorating morality, increasing crime, even the possibility of nuclear annihilation.

We can't naively minimize the starkness of the problems that confront humanity today. But Christians, as well as those of goodwill in other faiths, are increasingly coming to see the greatest problem of all as that fear-induced mental darkness which would blind us to how these problems can be met.

Is there not, then, at this Christmas season, a special need to take radically to heart and find new hope in the lesson the whole Bible teaches and which the coming of Christ supremely exemplifies: the reality and power of the living God, His love for mankind, and the demands and rewards of fulfilling those great commands to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves? For this truly, in the words of St. John, is the "perfect love" which "casteth out fear."


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