The Christmas story as we know it appears only in the Gospel of Luke with an echo in Matthew, is not mentioned in Mark which is considered to be the earliest of the Gospels. Christmas was dated and first practiced in the fourth century in competition with the Roman gods of that time — perhaps as a starting point of each new year.

As I read through comments this morning on the web, there looks to be considerable concern with the commercialization of Christmas as the big sales event of the year. Children particularly are focused on presents to be received, not the religious notions of care and concern for people of Jesus.

I have happy memories of this annual celebration which I shall review this year as my beloved wife (recently deceased) and I celebrated it over the years — first in Oxford where we were studying and then with her family, then with our own.

I wish the sentiment of Christmas as care and concern for those in need could be universalized and its range be extended beyond just Christians.

I am not a religious believer myself, but I do hope always to better the lives of those in need which seemed to be the mission of Jesus’ life and cause of his death at the hands of the well-off of his day who were threatened by such as his Sermon on the Mount.

Better gods of peace than of war. And this is one of the primary meanings of Christmas to me — not “marching off to war,” but ending all wars to enable us to do better things with our energies and resources.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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