In this Advent Special of the Foreign Policy ProvCast, Mark Melton speaks with Walter Russell Mead about his annual Yule Blog series, which begins on Christmas Eve and runs through Epiphany on January 6. Mead explains that he originally created the Yule Blog several years ago because Americans have forgotten so much about the holiday’s religious grounding and message. While the series covers a range of topics over 14 days, Melton and Mead focus on two: first, Mead analyzes the role of Mary in the New Testament and the early church; then he talks about what Jesus’ Jewish identity and love of his people means for Christians’ love of their country and home, and what it means that Jesus was able to reach out to people from other nations while still loving his own.

They conclude by offering a message of what Christmas means in a year that the COVID-19 pandemic has scarred. Particularly, Mead explains that this year, when many are celebrating the holiday away from family, the separation should remind us that the heart of the Christmas holiday isn’t about those gatherings or events, but about the birth of Jesus Christ. “So what we’re going to live through this year, is Christmas stripped down to the basics, and that may be a way to get in touch as never before with this eruption of meaning into a dark history.”   

Be sure to read the Yule Blog daily during the Twelve Days of Christmas here.

Special Intro Music: The US Marine Corps Band, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” via Pixabay.