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 - Epiphany
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? - Christmas - Yule Blog
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 - Christmas - Religion
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 - Virgin Mary - Christmas
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 - Sin Grace Love
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 - Nations - Christmas
Day 8: One for All

The Christmas story suggests that we can somehow try to be loyal members of our nations, our families, our tribes—and to reach out to the broader human community of which we are also a part.

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

It is a terrible scandal, but there is no way to separate the Trinity from Christmas.

Day 6: Personal Meaning - 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: Meaning of Christmas - Yule Blog
Day 5: The Meaning of Christmas

Why do Christians and so many other people believe in an invisible Ruler and Creator of the universe—and then how does the Christian idea of God differ from the others?

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.