St. Matthew 2:1 -- Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold there came three wise men from the east to Jeruselem.
ONCE again the Christmas season is with us. Once again we pursue in the mad swirl of life to honor the birth of the Son of Man. Once again the spirit of peace on earth, good will toward men is abroad in the land.
For nineteen hundred and thirty-five years the message of the Nazarene has survived to give new hope to men and an inspired purpose to human existence. It is the formula for the perfect life. But we are an imperfect people. Perhaps that accounts for our faulty translation of its true meaning and the reason why today we are just groping our way out of the shadows into the sunlight of understanding.
St. Matthew 22:37 -- Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
OVER and over Jesus preached the gospel of love, of kindliness, of mutual helpfulness and sympathy. In His sermons to the multitude, in His admonitions to His disciples, He emphasized the common Brotherhood of Man.
It is the ideal toward which the human race has been struggling ever since His sacrifice on the Cross. The road has been long. Frequently we have faltered. At times we have almost surrendered to despair. And, yet, despite all discouragements, in the face of all obstacles, we have kept coming on.
We are still far from achieving the ideal. Hate and jealousy and greed still lurk in the hearts of men. There is far too much misery and suffering and poverty in the world. We still talk of the inevitability of war when Christ directed us along the road to peace and human love, sympathy and understanding.
But the evils that afflict mankind must eventually wither and die under the purifying rays of Christ's gospel. And no better occasion is offered than this Christmas season to catch an enlightened vision of the Brotherhood of Man and to rededicate ourselves to His commandment -- "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
St. Matthew 18:21, 22 -- Then came Peter to Him, and said Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven.
WE might ask ourselves how fully we have accepted this spirit of forgiveness expressed by Christ.
Do we hoard up hatreds within our hearts? Do we make allowances for the weaknesses of our fellowmen? Are we motivated by revenge rather than by the promptings of brotherly love?
In our ability to forgive, to repay malice with kindness, to cast vengeance into the darkness and extend the hand of fellowship rests our ability to achieve contentment and untroubled happiness.
St. Matthew 7:3 -- And why beholdest thou the mote that is in they brother's eye but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye.
THUS did Jesus preach nineteen hundred years ago with an accusing philosophy that contains the complete essence of tolerance and consideration for human error while at the same time reproaching those who are prone to find fault with others. Intolerance and hypocrisy have ever been enemies of man and a curse to the human race.
St. John 15:13 -- Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
THIS time Jesus is preaching the gospel of unselfish service, the creed of man's responsibility to his fellowmen.
It is the thing that dominates all religion, all social relationships -- everything that is worth while in the world. It is this spirit of service which has carried the message of Christ down thru the centuries, ennobled mankind and given life its purpose.
Only thru service can men express their higher, greater selves. Only thru unselfish service to humanity is true happiness achieved. One of the great lessons of life is that we help ourselves most by helping others. Ours is a common destiny, requiring mutual dependence one upon another.
St. Matthew 7:12 -- Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.
JESUS was not the first to enunciate this philosophy of the Golden Rule. Nearly 400 years before the birth of Christ, Confucius voiced it in much the same words. In some form or other it is found among all the peoples of the earth.
The spirit of service has always been and will always be the great propelling force behind the progress of man and the advancement of civilization.
It has come down to us, however, as one of the cardiinal principles of the Christian religion.
And so, on this anniversary of the birth of Christ let us take stock of our selves. Let us accept the challenge of Jesus on the Cross, and drawing inspiration from the Golden Rule give unselfish expression to the idea of service while we resolve to be more tolerant and promote the Brotherhood of Man.