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This Christmas brings great peace, good will toward men — State Journal editorial from 100 years ago

December 23, 2018

This State Journal editorial ran on Dec. 24, 1918, just six weeks after World War I ended and four weeks before the start of the Paris Peace Conference, at which the terms of peace were set:

Never before has Christmas brought a greater hope of peace.

The world is being reconstructed in the hope that the peace which the first Christmas promised may at least be realized. Never before has the world suffered and sacrificed so much for a righteous end.

The new era is here.

“And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.”

This Christmas Day, another star is shining in the east. It, too, is the star of peace and good will, the star of hope and promise. It, too, has beckoned to the wise men of the world, and has guided them to the spot where the young child of peace lies.

Darkness and clouds of war have been swept aside and have disappeared from our horizon. The death and desolation of bloody conflict now are but a memory, a thing which happened and, God granting, may never happen again. Mists of sorrow and suffering are dissolved before the warm rays of a peaceful sun.

Smiles are coming back to the face of mankind, and hatreds are leaving his heart. For unto us is born a new era, a new age, a new life, a new day — PEACE!

The young life of this child of peace is coming into being over there in France, and there the star of our hopes shines, striking its beaming brightness into the uttermost recesses of the world.

This difference is to be noted: The wise men of today are not coming to the cradle of peace to destroy the child. They come not to bear it away to Herod. They come to give of their life, their brain, their power, that the child of peace may live everlastingly.

So they sit at the peace table, these great, wise men of today, from America, from Europe, from Asia, from the four corners of the world. What they do and say and think will shape the future of mankind, the happiness of human beings, the progress of civilization.

There are (President Woodrow) Wilson and (English Prime Minister David) Lloyd George, (Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele) Orlando and (French Prime Minister Georges) Clemenceau, and with them sit in council others of all races, nations, creeds and colors. For this peace is to be the product of world thought, world effort and world ambition. It is not a peace for any one nation, or for anyone group of nations.

It is to be peace for all.

The weightiest problems of human history are bearing down on the shoulders of these wise men there, bending over the manger cradle of the child of peace, and the prayers of a world go out from God-worshiping souls this day for divine guidance of human brains through the labyrinth they must pass that the fruit of their labors may be peace as everlasting as it must be universal.

Confidently do we anticipate such a peace from the hands of the world’s wise men gathered in France. And as confidently do we believe that there will follow “good will toward men.” ...