Good judgment saved Christmas in WWI


Richard Cartwright

Sunday, December 24, 2017

John Hood’s column titled, “Daniels Sided with Christmas during wartime,” was a fascinating look into a virtually unknown event in U.S. history. Josephus Daniels, a very important North Carolinian, used good judgment that consequently helped to save the celebration of Christmas during the First World War. 

In the summer of 1918, Josephus Daniels and the other members of the Council of National Defense drafted a rule to limit the production of gifts by American industries. In August of 1918, A.C. Gilbert and other business leaders tried to talk the council out of imposing such a heavy burden on manufacturers. Mr. Gilbert believed that playing with toys stimulated the imagination, built social relationships, and trained children in practical skills. Mr. Daniels sheepishly conceded with Mr. Gilbert’s argument that toys are educational and they can help children develop skills that they will need as adults. 

Well, in the last verse of the Christmas carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” Charles Wesley says the following about the incarnate Jesus: “born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.” 

I realize that some people might wonder what the phrase “second birth” means. To tell the truth (according to the Gospel of John), a person is born physically of human parents, but he is born spiritually of the Holy Spirit. I believe that Jesus can give anybody the spiritual change that they need to get to heaven. 

Quite frankly, everybody in the Albemarle region should think about the shepherds and the Wise Men who gave their adoration and worship to the beloved Baby Jesus soon after he was born. This Christmas people can pay homage to Jesus Christ by giving him their heart.

Richard Cartwright

Elizabeth City