Civil Liberties

A. Barton Hinkle on the True Meaning of Christmas


Like the madman in Chesterton's "Orthodoxy," people with strong political feelings about Christmas are "trapped in the well-lit prison of one idea…sharpened to one painful point." One wants to say to them, look: If British and German soldiers could sing carols together at Ypres in WWI, then the rest of us are entitled to give politics a break for one lousy day. Here, have some peppermint bark. After all, writes A. Barton Hinkle, giving people a break is what the holiday is all about. The story of Christmas is the story of a wrathful, smiting God who had a change of heart. A God who said: "You know what? All those horrible, awful, things you've done? Forgiven. We're going to wipe the slate clean and start over. Yet get a second chance."