Christmas can be horrible. Really.
The obligations, expectations, stretched budgets, terrible food, awkward social engagements…
And that’s just the office party.
But Christmas can also be wonderful.
Underneath the material urgings is an ideal that transcends custom, culture, and borders. It isn’t an ideal that is exclusively Christian, or even primarily religious. But it is divine, if not Divine. That is, Christmas is—should be—the superlative of peace. Of goodwill. Of gratitude. The very best of human interaction is rooted in the simple, but tragically disregarded, idea that each of us is free. The recognition of that self-evident truth is the root cause of peace. And its dismissal—the idea that one man can justly rule another—is the sole proprietor of war.
If there is an ideal society, it is one wherein men cherish above all else, liberty.
Christmas is, in its most utopian sense, a celebration of liberty. Christ is, after all, the great liberator. And liberty is the great clarifier.
The horrific and perpetual wars that plague our world are devised and executed by coalitions of tyrants, waged at the expense of the peaceful and for the enrichment of the violent. Nobody, save for the tyrant, profits from war and destruction. Brutality has never bred devotion. Bullets cannot foster peace. The wholesale and worldwide demise of liberty is the goal of tyranny, and the means of ruin. Liberty, freedom, and peace are always precarious and fleeting. But their abolishment is hardly inevitable. Indeed, inherent in all men is a desire for autonomy and dignity. It is a desire that can neither be extinguished, nor ignored.
If there is anything in this world worth fighting for, it is peace.
Peace on earth, according to Luke, begins with good will toward men, which of course begins with you. And me. Each of us has the capacity to radically change the course of history. Peace will never come from governments, or treaties, or threats of violence. Peace always has been, and ever will be, a product of individuals working for the preservation and betterment of each other. We cannot demand the privilege of dignity for ourselves and rightfully confiscate it from others. Our individual perpetuation of liberty is our only and best method of achieving a collective peace.
“Liberty and peace toward all. Agression toward none.“
Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.