Editorial of the Brampton Conservator, December 24, 1914
The Christmas of 1914 will not soon be forgotten. Mothers will remember it as the Christmas on which their sons were in the battle line on foreign soil; fathers will remember it as the time of supreme sacrifice when they offered up one or more sons to their country. The strains of peace on earth, good will toward men are lost in the shriek of the shrapnel and the bellowing of the great guns, which hurl defiance to the Christ Child and His message which are striving to bury beneath the crimsoned soil the beautiful old gospel of the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God. But the strains of the old sweet song will rise triumphant above the roaring guns and the message will once more swell high above the din of battle, above the haughty ambition and lust of power which has brought about so great misery, and the Christmastide will once again bring to the hearts of men the beloved gospel of loving and of giving. For vaunting ambition will o’er leap itself and the world will settle into a deeper, sweeter peace, born of grave sorrow and sadness such as the world has never before seen.
Christmas, 1914. In the years to come we shall remember it not only as a time of hideous strife, of cruel butchery and torture, of the slaughter of the innocents; a time when men, women and little children are starving and sorrowing because of their ruined homes, their wasted fields and trampled soil but as a time when men put aside their petty aims, their sordid ideals and arose as brethren, with one heart and one mind, to do what they could to aid the suffering and the despairing. Today, as never before in the history of the world, the great heart of the Anglo-Saxon people is throbbing in sympathy with the woes of those who are the victims of that lust of power which is attempting to override all law, all justice, all honour and all humanity; and that great heart overflows with tenderness unsurpassed for the hapless and the homeless.
It is worthwhile to be alive on Christmas Day, 1914, and to realize that the gospel of brotherhood is so strongly entrenched in the heart of the British nation and of sister countries, whose wrath and indignation equals our own and who are also stretching out hands of help and sending words of sympathy and means of relief. It is worthwhile to know that we are indeed and of a truth members one of another, that the Christmas spirit is stronger to-day [sic] than ever it has been since its first celebration. It is worth while [sic] to know that we are not stretching out greedy hands for gifts, but that everywhere the cry is going out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” [sic] what can we do to help? Never before was there so much interest in the unfortunate and the needy; never before was there so much evidence of Christian charity and love; never before was the cloak of worldly indifference so quickly pierced and eager hands are toiling night and day to help in some small measure and to provide for all a joyous Christmas.
Christmas, 1914! Christmas in the trenches. Christmas on the field where the man behind the gun is thinking of his home and his little ones. Shall not we in Canada make this Christmas a time of special thanksgiving for the mercies vouchsafed to us, a time of the uplifting of our spirit to the God who gave His Son that war might cease in the world and to implore Him to put a speedy end to this wicked strife that the banner of peace and of love should be unfurled and float for evermore over the whole world.
Christmas! The word comes with a new meaning in 1914. We have known peace so long that we can hardly comprehend war; we have dwelt so long beneath the flag of liberty that we know not what fetters mean, but in our ease and our content we have perhaps grown selfish and indifferent to those less fortunate. Christmas of 1914 has torn away our selfish indolence. We know now that the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God have a deeper meaning than we have realized. We know, despite the war and tumult, that God reigns, that He is planning, guiding, leading, and we know to-day in this quiet, contented land, that we have been blessed above the lot of many nations, but we know, too, that out of this hideous strife will develop a new era in the world’s history when God, not man, shall reign supreme, which His shall be the word of power and authority and when no man shall by his ruthless ambition plunge the nations into mourning.
Christmas in Canada in 1914 will be a glorious Christmas and men’s hearts will be filled with gratitude and with thanksgiving. For the opportunity to help has come to us and there is no more blessed service than the ministry to those in need. With each one anxious to help his brother, with everyone anxious to bring cheer and encouragement to his fellow man, this Christmastide sees again the coming of the Christ child, welcome and adored. Christmas of 1914 has taught us the real spirit of Christmas, that it is a time of giving, not of getting and that the real, joyous mirth that arises on this, the most joyous day of the year, springs from “the heart at leisure from itself to sooth and sympathize.”
To one and all The Conservator extends hearty greetings
A MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS.