The Yule Blog

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Walter Russell Mead’s Yule Blog has been a Christmas tradition since The American Interest’s “Via Meadia” blog first published it for the 2009–10 Christmastide. This wonderful, if sometimes laid-aside, season in the Christian calendar runs from Christmas Eve to Epiphany (January 6). Mead’s “Twelvetide” reflections have shepherded many into remembering not just the history but the meaning of Christmas and the Yuletide season.

Providence is thrilled to host the Yule Blog for a third year. Such excitement is appropriate. As Walter writes, “Christianity is the living force behind American liberal ideology as well as American conservativism.”

Providence understands that as we let go of the meaning of Christmas, we deracinate ourselves from our collective memory of Christendom, and thereby such virtues as “humility, forbearance, honesty, and tolerance begin to fade from our common life.” The loss of such Christian memory bodes ill for our republic, and what bodes ill for our republic bodes ill for the world.

May these Yuletide reflections be a rock against such forgetfulness and a goad to the quickening of faith, hope, and love—both at home and far abroad. Merry Christmas!

Day 13: The Light at the End of the Yule Blog
Day 13: The Light at the End of the Yule Blog

Christmas is important to Christians because from their point of view the Baby Jesus is the meaning of Christmas, and the meaning of Christmas is the meaning of life.

Day 12: How Real is the Meaning? Yule Blog Apologetics Bible
Day 12: How Real is the Meaning?

History turned a corner with the birth of Jesus Christ, and while the written reports of that event don’t tell me everything I want to know, they do tell me everything I need. The Gospels occupy a kind of center point in human culture as a whole: products of a particular time and place, but comprehensible to all.

Day 11: Sitting in Darkness, Blogging the Light - Yule Blog
Day 11: Sitting in Darkness, Blogging the Light

If we leave religion out of our national conversation, we end up with a vapid conversation that doesn’t address the deepest realities that move most of the people in this country.

Day 10: The Mother of All Meaning Yule Blog
Day 10: The Mother of All Meaning

To get any insight at all into what Jesus’ childhood and upbringing were like, you have to do something that sometimes makes Protestants uncomfortable: study Mary.

Day 9: God’s Dilemma Yule Blog
Day 9: God’s Dilemma

The flawed human race, trapped in a cycle of cascading pain and wrong, is what and who God is bound and determined to love; the question is, How can He do it?

Day 8: One for All Yule Blog Nationalism Patriotism Israel
Day 8: One for All

The Christmas story doesn’t tell us how to reconcile the virtues and the vices of universal cosmopolitanism and local loyalty. But it suggests that we can somehow try to be true to both ideals: to be loyal members of our nations, our families, our tribes—and at the same time to reach out to the broader human community of which we are also a part.

Day 7: Meaning in 3-D Yule Blog Trinity Christmas
Day 7: Meaning in 3-D

My goal is much more modest: to help Christian and non-Christian readers understand what classical vanilla Christians mean when they identify the baby in the manger with God on high. That means taking on the most controversial and complex idea in Christianity; the doctrine of the Trinity is wrapped around that baby in the manger even tighter than the swaddling clothes.

Day 6: Personal Meaning - The Yule Blog
Day 6: Personal Meaning

For believers, the question isn’t why there are presents under the tree. It is whether the love around the family circle speaks of a larger reality and in some way reflects the meaning inherent in the universe as a whole, or whether that happy Christmas morning feeling is nothing more than the biologically conditioned response of a collection of primates in a kinship setting.

Day 5: The Meaning of Christmas - Yule Blog
Day 5: The Meaning of Christmas

For most people, their religious convictions don’t come from the realm of myth and fantasy; they come from that part of the human personality that sees the moral and physical beauty of the world and the people in it, and attempts to respond to that beauty in a serious and worthy way.

Walter Mead Bio picture
Walter Russell Mead is the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College, the Distinguished Scholar in American Strategy and Statesmanship for the Hudson Institute, and the Editor-at-Large for The American Interest. He previously served as the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy for the Council on Foreign Relations. His works include God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World (2008), and he also writes for the Wall Street Journal and Foreign Affairs.