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. 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 9: God’s Dilemma - Yule Blog - Sin Grace Love
Day 9: God’s Dilemma

From a Christian perspective, God’s act of creation is an expression of love. God made the world because He wants an abundance of beings and sensibilities to love, to be with, to share life with, and to make happy.

Day 8: One for All

A little more than two thousand years after the first Christmas, Christianity is both more universal and “cosmopolitan” than ever, and yet it is also more deeply rooted in more cultures than ever before in its past.

Day 7: Meaning in 3-D

It is a terrible scandal, but there is no way to separate the Trinity from Christmas. God is One; God is Three; the baby Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity, come to earth to save sinners and open the door to a new kind of relationship between human beings and God

Day 6: Personal Meaning

Love doesn’t just exist, Christians believe. It rules. That baby in the manger isn’t just the center of a circle of affection that includes his family and the adoring shepherds; He is the King and Lord of the universe.

Day 5: The Meaning of Christmas

We need to know what Christians mean by God, why they think God had a Son, and what they think God’s Son was doing being born at all, much less being born in Bethlehem.

Day 4: The Hinge of Fate

Church calendars mark December 28 as Holy Innocents’ Day, the day we remember the deaths of the babies in Bethlehem who were murdered at Herod’s command.

Day 3: Born of a What???

Conventional manger scenes don’t show it, but besides the ox, the ass, the sheep, and the camels, there was another animal in the room at Christmas: an elephant. And the elephant in the room was the idea that Jesus’ mother was a virgin when He was born.

Day 2: Rolling the Credits

The documentary sources for the Christmas story are pretty good by the standards of the ancient world, but are few and short by the standards of our time.

Day 1: Christmas Day

There’s an old family custom that when two friends or relations greet one another on Christmas morning, the first one who says “Christmas gift!” gets to select one of the other person’s presents.

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.