Winston Churchill’s Christmas Message, 24 December 1941
Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, Churchill went to Washington, D.C. with his chiefs of staff to meet President Roosevelt and the American military leaders and coordinate plans for the defeat of the common enemy. On Christmas Eve Churchill broadcast to the world from the White House on the 20th annual observation of the lighting of the community Christmas tree.
His message begins: I spend this anniversary and festival far from my country, far from my family…..
…..This is a strange Christmas Eve. Almost the whole world is locked in deadly struggle, and, with the most terrible weapons which science can devise, the nations advance upon each other. Ill would it be for us this Christmastide if we were not sure that no greed for the land or wealth of any other people, no vulgar ambition, no morbid lust for material gain at the expense of others, had led us to the field. Here, in the midst of war, raging and roaring over all the lands and seas, creeping nearer to our hearts and homes, here, amid all the tumult, we have tonight the peace of the spirit in each cottage home and in every generous heart. Therefore we may cast aside for this night at least the cares and dangers which beset us, and make for the children an evening of happiness in a world of storm. Here, then, for one night only, each home throughout the English-speaking world should be a brightly-lighted island of happiness and peace.
Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world.
Churchill’s message is somehow as relevant today as it was 75 years ago. Let’s take the message to heart and enjoy the holiday season the way is is meant to be.