To Guide Our Feet Into the Way of Peace


From the Cosmopolitan and reprinted in the Allentown Messenger dated December 22, 1910, the following remonstrance about the true meaning of Christmas.


This year again you will observe the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. If you are Christian, you will do it because you believe he was the Son of God; if Jew, because he was a great Jew; if you are smug and satisfied whose deity is a metaphysical formula, you will observe it because the other people do; and if you are one of thousands who, like Timour the Tartar, pray indifferently at the shrine of a saint and the tomb of a dervish, you will observe it because you consider that, after all, it is just as well to be on the safe side.


Good reasons each. But there is one reason that you disregard; one that on this day brings us together, and ought to bring us all together every day; the Man himself.


You do not believe the divinity of his birth? You have still the divinity of his life. You doubt the miracles he is said to have performed? You have still his life that was miracle enough. Deny all that the zealots have said about him; you cannot honestly deny one of those things he said about you. If there is a Christian church that is not teaching these things, shape your conduct by his ethics, and you will be more Christian than the church.


Social evolution moves slowly; but it never stops. In spite of the wars waged, of the infamy wrought, in the name of this workingman of Nazareth, it moves forward. Because he was so much bigger than much that was said of him, it may yet move forward faster.


The era of true peace on earth will not come so long as a tremendous percentage of your taxes goes to educate men in the trades of slaughter, to arm and support them through lives in which they cannot practice even those trades. It will not come so long as you in your business have to fight your neighbor in the same business. It will not come so long as you and your neighbor have to race each other toward the same job.


But it will come. It will come when evolution has taken the next step forward. And one of the ways in which you can help its coming is a more careful remembrance of the Man whose birthday you are about to observe the first gentleman; born of an untutored girl, cradled in a manger, trained as a carpenter, and executed as a criminal.