The word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14, ESV).
Harry Reasoner was a broadcast journalist for CBS Radio in the early 1960s. He teamed up with Mike Wallce in the 1970s to create the CBS news magazine show, 60 Minutes. He later became anchor of the ABC Evening News, but after two years went back to CBS and 60 Minutes where he remained until he retired. Mr. Reasoner died in 1991.
Reasoner delivered a commentary on Christmas on his early radio program that he later delivered to a national audience on 60 Minutes and then later on ABC Evening News. This commentary has been reprinted many times and in several versions.
During this 2020 Christmas season I would like to share this Christmas commentary from the 20th century broadcast journalist Harry Reasoner:
"The basis for this tremendous annual burst of gift buying and parties and near hysteria is a quiet event that Christians believe actually happened a long time ago. You can say that in all societies there has always been a midwinter festival and that many of the trappings of our Christmas are almost violently pagan. But you come back to the central fact of the day and quietness of Christmas morning — the birth of God on earth. It leaves you only three ways of accepting Christmas."
"One is cynically, as a time to make money or endorse the making of it."
"One is graciously, the appropriate attitude for non-Christians, who wish their fellow citizens all the joys to which their beliefs entitle them."
"And the third, of course, is reverently. If this is the anniversary of the appearance of the Lord of the universe in the form of a helpless babe, then it is a very important day."
"It’s a startling idea, of course. My guess is that the whole story — that a virgin was selected by God to bear His Son as a way of showing His love and concern for man — is not an idea that has been popular with theologians. It’s a somewhat illogical idea, and theologians like logic almost as much as they like God. It’s so revolutionary a thought that it probably could only come from a God that is beyond logic, and beyond theology."
"It has a magnificent appeal. Almost nobody has seen God, and almost nobody has any real idea of what He is like. And the truth is that among men the idea of seeing God suddenly and standing in a very bright light is not necessarily a completely comforting and appealing idea."
"But everyone has seen babies, and most people like them. If God wanted to be loved as well as feared, He moved correctly here. If He wanted to know His people as well as rule them, He moved correctly here, for a baby growing up learns all about people. If God wanted to be intimately a part of man, He moved correctly, for the experiences of birth and familyhood are our most intimate and precious experiences."
"So it goes beyond logic. It is what Bishop Karl Morgan Block used to call a kind of divine insanity. It is either all falsehood or it is the truest thing in the world. It either rises above the tawdriness of what we make of Christmas or it is part of it and completely irrelevant. It’s the story of the great innocence of God the baby — God in the form of man."
"And it is such a dramatic shot for the heart, that if it is not true for Christians, nothing else is, because this story reaches Christians universally and with profound emotion. So, if a Christian is touched only once a year, the touching is still worth it, and maybe on some given Christmas, some final quiet morning, the touch will take."
"Because the message of Christmas IS the Christmas Story. If it is false, we are doomed. If it is true, as it must be, it makes everything else in the world all right."
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”Luke 2:10-12, ESV