Keep Christmas well.

Paul GleiserKeep Christmas Well

About a decade and a half ago, when I first started what we now call You Tell Me Texas, I decided to establish an annual tradition — something to share with you on our last visit of the year. That tradition is thanks to Harry Reasoner, one of the best wordsmiths ever to work in broadcasting. Harry was one of the founding anchors of CBS’s “60 Minutes” and he also anchored for ABC during the 1970s.

Like many of his peers, Harry learned his craft as a newspaperman, catering to an audience with a longer attention span. His technology was a manual typewriter and his daily pursuit was the well-turned phrase.

As I think about Christmas 2023, coming as it does when we are beset by political tension at home and by armed conflict in the very birthplace of Jesus, I come back to a transcript that I have hung on to for nearly 45 years. It was written by Reasoner and delivered on at least two occasions, once on “60 Minutes” and once when he was an anchor at ABC. He said before he died that it got him more mail than anything he had ever done.

So, in what continues as a You Tell Me tradition, here again is what Harry Reasoner said:

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 either all falsehood or it is the truest thing in the world. It’s the story of the great innocence of God the baby – God in the form of man – and has such a dramatic shock toward the heart that if it is not true, for Christians, nothing is true.

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.”

Thank you, Harry.

And this post fix, also now a You Tell Me tradition. If the Christmas Spirit is, again, not coming easily to you, consider the words of another of my favorite wordsmiths. His name was Charles Dickens and in his literary opus, “A Christmas Carol,” he said,

…for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.”

So it is, Mr. Dickens. And God bless us, every one.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. Chuck Goldsmith says:

    Thank you, Paul. I always enjoy this one.

  2. Linda E. Montrose says:

    This is something that you may or may not choose to read. It is my take from experience growing up so you can take it for what it is. My Granny was a very religious person and she made sure I went to church with her. My mother wasn’t much of a church goer. But she drove us to church and picked us up.
    Now, we can take a little something from my Granny but we also can from our brothers and sisters on the other side of the fence as well. Good can come from bad if you look hard enough for the good. Hitler was a nasty person but one thing we can say for him was that he was right in taking very small children away from their parents and teaching them in his way. The good part of this is that he was right in one thing. A child is like a sponge, they learn from what they are exposed to. If a child was exposed, as I was, to a religious background they may not appreciate it at the time but they have it inside of them to learn from.
    Hitler took children at a time when they were ripe for the pickings. And think about this in what we are going through now in many areas. Such as the gender thing, the pride movement, and many other things that CHILDREN should not be exposed to. If children are not exposed to the right things, they will take up what they are exposed to. The left has made it their mission to expose their agenda to very small impressionable minds. If there is nothing in that child’s life to counter the bad how do we expect the good to come out? I was made to understand that CHRISTMAS was a celebration of Jesus’ birth first and foremost, not something where gifts were gotten and exchanged.
    Even if you yourself are not a church goer it would help your child or children see both sides of this Christmas season. Most churches have people who would be glad to pick up your children and bring them home. I am so grateful to my Granny for making me go to church with her because it gave me another outlook on things. It seems like there is more evil in this world than ever before. Don’t we owe it to the children to give them something to counter that evil?

  3. Shirley Qualls says:

    Thank you, Paul…’re a gift!

  4. Brenda Nutter says:

    Great post Paul! Merry Christmas!

  5. Thank God for you! I’m trying to find a church where where God wants me. Rather old fashioned. I love traditionally hymns the way they were written (God the Father, male pronouns and all). Love to visit home bound folks who can’t get to church now. They don’t want a sermon,. Have read the Bible at least 10 times, but hey LOVE TO SING!!!. Sometimes they don’t remember me but they remember the hymns we sing together. Most churches now say God, God God or Godself in paragraphs. No longer Father God. One day I will find a church where HE wants me. I’ll be 35 years sober January 21 and 33 not smoking.IT IS HE WHO MADE ME…IT IS HE WHO HDALED ME AND MY MOM. I want church where everyone is welcome and which recognizes OUR FATHER as the last word. Can”’t drive far but would like a church close that sings hymns as written.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *