Of all the seasons of the year none seems to captivate us more than the commemoration of Christ’s birth. For old and young this is supposed to be the “happy” time. We seem intent on shutting out of heart and home anything that smacks of sadness.

For this there is a good reason. On Christmas we glory in the beginning of the full gospel of our God. He has sent the Savior of the world, son of man and Son of God, who makes all things new. Rejoicing in that gospel we sing and shout:

“Joy to the world! the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature ring.”

But throughout this world there seems to be so little room for the Savior-King. This is repeatedly attested to by what our missionaries write. It should by this time have become equally evident to us that countless millions in our own land are refusing to receive Christ in their hearts and lives. Even we who profess that name which is above every name fail to honor our King as we should. On Christmas it is well to reflect on this sobering reality.

Not long ago the refusal of the American nation to honor Christ the King was noted in a resolution, unanimously adopted at the National Sunday School Convention held in Buffalo, N.Y. It listed the five “major trends” which give “evidence of a rush to secularism in national life.” It is well to refresh our minds once again on the direction which this nation is deliberately taking. According to the resolution the following currents threaten to remove Christ still more from any authoritative place in our lives:

(1) the gradual “de-Protestantizing” of the United States “through the efforts of the ectunenical movement and the current Vatican Council”;

(2) the United States Supreme Court decisions banning Bible reading and prayer in the public schools;

(3) the wide-spread moral laxity evidenced in “pre-occupation with sex, crime, teen-age restlessness, boredom and delinquency”;

(4) the “increasing crescendo of tension in race relations”; and

(5) the lack of “positive, aggressive Christian witness as reflected in apathy and frustration” on the part of many who profess Jesus Christ.

Each of these “trends” exhibits an all-out attack on the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It makes little difference whether such attacks are deliberate or not. The end-result is the same. The right of the Savior, whose birth we are commemorating, to rule in the hearts and lives, the organizations and institutions of men is openly denied. This includes the realms of the church as well as the state; of personal as well as social morality. Even those who claim to be Christians are too weary to witness for him.

Today is as good a time as any to take stock of ourselves.

How much do we honor the Lordship of Jesus Christin our hearts. in Our homes, in our churches and their assemblies. in our schools, in our jobs, in our social and political and cultural witness? Christ claims every area of life for himself. And only where he reigns as Lord, does he increasingly give joy and make all things new.



More preaching from the Word of God was called for by the Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church which has been meeting at the Vatican in Rome. Proposals for the reform of Catholic liturgy have occupied the attention of the delegates, and many interesting amendments have been tentatively adopted. These include decisions which will make it possible to carry on a good part of the worship, including some parts of the Mass in the language of the people.

Surely one of the most significant decisions taken in this council calls for a greater insistence upon the preaching of the Word. Up to this time the place of preaching has had a relatively minor place in Roman Catholic warship. In the past the sermon has often been regarded as an optional appendage to the celebration of the Mass.

The proposal which has now been adopted by a large majority declares that the sermon should never be omitted except for serious reasons. It calls upon each priest to use every Sunday as an opportunity to explain the Christian faith and Christian living to the people. It further calls upon the priests to base their sermons on the Bible and to make extensive use of the Scriptures in their preaching.

This new voice from the Vatican possibly raises some hope. If this call for preaching in the Roman Catholic church will be heard, there must come also a clear understanding of what preaching really is. If this is to be a discourse on some subject suggested by Roman Catholic tradition, then it becomes a powerful means for propaganda. The rationalizing of typically Roman Catholic ideas and practices in a “sermon” becomes a dangerous thing. This is not preaching. The difficulty, however, lies in the fact that many people don’t know what a sermon really is.

Preaching, rightly understood, is the explaining of the Word of God so that its meaning and application to faith and life may be clearly heard. When the Word is allowed to speak in the preaching, it will at once claim its rightful place as the only final authority for faith and practice. Then preaching becomes the means which the Spirit uses to work a continuing reformation of the church. If the clergy will allow the Word to speak in the sermons to be preached. it is possible that the “accursed idolatry” of the Mass will become apparent, and many other teachings and mission price is 50¢. Be sure that we have a full house!

practices of the Roman church will fall before the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. This first and important step in reform may yet in God’s providence bring about a 20th century reformation in the church of Rome.



“Wrestling the problems” is a popular expression. Those who are not engaged in this tussle are regarded as hopelessly ignorant. And no matter what one suggests in criticism of an established doctrinal or practical matter, if it can be said that “he is wrestling with the problem,” then objectors had better hush up, and quick!

I thought of this lately, when I noticed the following news item in the official organ of the Gereformeerde Kerk in Delft, The Netherlands. It appeared under the heading: “Folk-dancing,” which I translate as follows:

Next Saturday there will again be folk dancing. As announced earlier, this evening will bear a somewhat peculiar character, which ought not to prove a hindrance to anyone that might attend. On the contrary, for these evenings are especially designed as a stimulus to folk dancing. The previous time we learned four new dances, which we intend to practice thoroughly this time. These were the Troika, the Virginia Reel, “Pop Goes the Weasel,” and the “Hora.” As our new dance for next Saturday we have the French folk dance: “Hinkey-dinkey, parlez-vous.” Admission price is 50¢. Be sure that we have a full house!

Folk-dancing is called square-dancing here, and I understand that it has already made its way into Christian Reformed circles. At least I met a man recently who told me that he was a professional instructor in such dancing, and that he was also engaged to demonstrate this “art” to a group of Christian Reformed young people, and that this instruction would take place in one of the buildings of our denominational institutions.

Well, someone asks irritably, what is so wrong with square dancing?

Frankly, I don’t know. But there are some problems here…

Does all of this represent a changed world-and-life view among our people? Have we now advanced so far (or gone back so far) that the possible worldliness of certain amusement forms is no longer a relevant subject for discussion? Should a church directly or indirectly provide for this kind of thing? If such kinds of activity are popular, while all efforts to stimulate interest in the principles of a Reformed, Christian life go begging for enough interest to make them worthwhile, ought we to conclude that the question among us is not, “What is wrong with square dancing?” Might the question be, “What is wrong with us?”

I’m just suggesting that before we get into the kind of wrestling represented by the more desirable social dancing we truly wrestle with such questions.