The editorial in this issue was written by Rev. Gerald Vanden Berg, whose name is probably not familiar to you. This is partially due to the fact that he is long deceased, and partly because he wrote the article for the December 1948 issue of Beacon Lights, a few decades before most of our readers were born.
Beacon Lights is not big on reprints, preferring to stay as up-to-date as possible. So why are we republishing a 65-year-old article? Two reasons.
First, the curious staff wanted to know how different the times were back then. Young people, dig out your history books. World War II had ended only three years earlier, and the country was beginning to return to normal and to prosper once again. Harry S. Truman was president of the United States—he who once said, “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” In this December issue there was a discussion about holding the 1949 young people’s convention in Manhattan, Montana. This would involve a 30-hour train ride at a cost of $42.64 per person, including tax. It was also reported that the circulation of the magazine was 877, and that it was being sent to twelve states, the Netherlands, and India. Rev. Vanden Berg was pastor of a small PR congregation in Grand Haven, MI, which has not existed for decades, although the church building still stands along US 31 on the south side of Grand Haven. But what about the celebration of Christmas? Were the issues different in 1948 from those of today?
Second, the answer will be immediately obvious when you read the article. The issues connected with Christmas are not different from those we encounter today. The same alternatives of a secular versus a religious observance existed then as they do now. The writing style was a bit different then, and I have edited with a light hand to preserve the flavor of the article. But as far as content is concerned, the article could have been written today. The central issues remain unchanged.
So read, enjoy, and learn.
Also in this issue, in accordance with his request, we publish a letter by Robert Koll exactly as we received it. Jesus viewed all children as special, for “of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Robert is truly special.