From the WSJ’s annual Christmas editorial:
When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.
Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.
But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?
At our family’s celebration last night, in lieu of a formulaic grace, I said this: “Some believe one thing, some another. Some believe in nothing at all. But what cannot be disbelieved is that two thousand years or so ago a 33-year old carpenter from a backwater lot in the Roman empire changed the world, forever. And his method was love.”
Something, I think, we all can learn from regardless of our beliefs.
Vermont Royster’s 1949 editorial ends thus: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
The gifts are all unwrapped, the wrapping papers swept up, dinner served, the plates washed and put up. A quiet morning after. A cup of coffee, the New York Times Sunday edition. Everyone still sleeps, happy, healthy and content, the very air wrapped in their soft exhalations.
My favorite part of my favorite day.
Again, to you and yours, a very Merry Christmas to those who believe in that one thing. And to the others, my friends, every possible blessing of the season.