Saturday, December 24, 2011

Harry Reasoner on Christmas

At a Christmas Eve service we attended, the pastor shared this writing by Harry Reasoner (of 60 Minutes) from 1973. In it, Reasoner suggested three possible ways of approaching Christmas:
One is cynically—as a time to make money or endorse the making of it.

Another is graciously—the appropriate attitude for non-Christians who wish their fellow citizens all the joys to which their beliefs entitle them.

The third is reverently. If this is the anniversary of the appearance of the Lord of the universe in the form of a helpless babe, it is a very important day. It's a startling idea of course. My guess is that the whole story—that a virgin was selected by God to bear his Son as a way of showing his love and concern for man—in spite of all the lip service given to it, is not an idea that has been popular with theologians.

It's a somewhat illogical idea, and theologians like logic almost as much as they like God. It's so revolutionary a thought that it probably could only come from a God that is beyond logic and beyond theology.

It has a magnificent appeal. Almost nobody has seen God, and almost nobody has any real idea of what he is like. The truth is that among men the idea of seeing God suddenly and standing in a very bright light is not necessarily a completely comforting and appealing idea. But everyone has seen babies and most people like them. If God wanted to be loved as well as feared, he moved correctly. If he wanted to know his people as well as rule them, he moved correctly, for a baby growing up learns all about people. And if God wanted to be intimately a part of man he moved correctly here, too, for the experience of birth and family-hood is our most intimate and precious experience.

So it comes beyond logic. It is either all falsehood or it is the truest thing in the world. It is the story of the great innocence of God, the baby. God in the person of man has such a dramatic shock toward the heart, that if it is not true, for Christians nothing is true.
For all my readers who know firsthand that the Christmas story is true, have a Very Merry Christmas. And for those readers not yet certain, hang in there, and do your best to seek the truth in the year ahead.

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