Merry Christmas 2014

Eric SchaubEric Schaub

Dear Friend of Liberty,

As we come to the end of the year and the beginning of a new, we at Liberty Tree just wanted to express our thanks for your support and our best wishes for you and your families in the new year.

"What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias..."
Judge Learned Hand
(1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals
Source: in "The Spirit of Liberty" - a speech at "I Am an American Day" ceremony, Central Park, New York City (21 May 1944)

As is customary for this time of year, many observe traditional holy days with acts of compassion and charity. Regardless of religious affiliation, around the world, people gather together in fellowship in a spirit of benevolence, hope and joy -- and of course, 'world peace.'

"In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas"
"Unity in things Necessary, Liberty in things Unnecessary, and Charity in all."
Rupertus Meldenius
Source: Paraenesis votiva pro Pace Ecclesiae ad Theologos Augustanae Confessionis, Auctore Ruperto Meldenio Theologo (c. 1627)

Whether honoring one of the 'mainstream' religious ideologies, one of their spin-offs or denominations, traditional native/aboriginal customs, or even a new age cult, from the week before the Winter Solstice on through to the end of the year, 'holy days' (holidays) have been observed throughout recorded history.

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."
Albert Einstein
(1879-1955) Physicist and Professor, Nobel Prize 1921

For me, Christmas will always hold a special place in my heart. For those of us closer to the North Pole, the long nights have set in, and the celestial lights twinkling in the snow render me in awe just as when I was a child. It's dark, cold, and snowy, and the people are bright, warm, and welcoming. There's singing and parties and gift-giving. And a spirit of hope for the year to come.

"He hath freedom whoso beareth a clean and constant heart within."
Quintus Ennius
(c.239 BC - c.169 BC) Considered the father of Roman poetry

We hear a lot about the commercialization of Christmas -- I for one don't fight it. Even though I may get stressed trying to come up with gift ideas, hey, it's good for the economy! (And if you are so inclined, any donation into our stocking would be most welcome!)

"How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it."
Adam Smith
(1723-1790) Scottish philosopher and economist
Source: The Theory Of Moral Sentiments, Part I, Section I, Chapter I, pg. 9

Sure gifts are fine, but for me it's really about family and fellowship. Gathering in celebration, abundance, grace, thankfulness -- sometimes solemnly, sometimes boisterously! And of course, the children -- what is Christmas without children?! (Young and old!)

"The great man is he who does not lose his child-heart."
[Mengzi Meng-tse] (c.371 - c.288 B.C.) Chinese Confucian philosopher

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other, wings."
Hodding Carter
[William Hodding Carter II] (1907-1972) American journalist and author

I am always reminded that the 'real' Christmas is not about Santa Claus or the Christmas tree ... but it wouldn't be Christmas to me without them. And why do we tell our children the same tales of Santa, his elves, and Rudolph? In many ways, these mythical characters unite us more than our religious affiliations do.

"This is exactly the message that fairy tales get across to the child in manifold form: that a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable, is an intrinsic part of human existence-but that if one does not shy away, but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious."
Bruno Bettelheim
(1903-1990) Austrian-born American child psychologist, writer
Source: in his book ‘The Uses of Enchantment, The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales.’

"From my experience of hundreds of children,
I know that they have perhaps a finer sense of honour than you or I have.
The greatest lessons in life, if we would but stoop and humble ourselves,
we would learn not from grown-up learned men,
but from the so-called ignorant children."
Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi
19 November 1931

Rather than dwell on the differences of the world's oldest religious traditions, we can find common ground in which to gather in fellowship. And it is that fellowship that I do honor and respect, certainly when that fellowship is founded upon the noble ideals of "Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Men."

"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."
H. L. Mencken
(1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer, and Critic

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. "
Jesus of Nazareth
Holy Bible, Matthew 5:9

"You can have peace.
Or you can have freedom.
Don't ever count on having both at once."
Robert A. Heinlein
(1907-1988) American writer
Source: The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

The freeman values his independence. Contributing to the community does not require subordinating oneself to it, nor taking charge and leading it. Each of us can act in accordance with our own needs and customs while affording others to do the same.
"The Right of all members of society to form
their own beliefs and communicate them freely to others
must be regarded as an essential principle
of a democratically organized society."
Thomas I. Emerson
(1907-1991) Lines Professor of Law, Yale University, author
Source: Toward A General Theory of the First Amendment, 1966

"I have always held firmly to the thought that each one of us can do a little to bring some portion of misery to an end."
Albert Schweitzer
(1875-1965) Humanitarian, Theologian, Philosopher, Physician, Nobel Peace Prize 1952

And so we keep the vigil going and hopefully share a bit of light to pass on.

"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention."
Khalil Gibran
(1883-1931) Lebanese-American philosophical essayist, novelist, mystical poet, and artist

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Would you like to help fill our stocking? Click Here.
Thank you!
Eric Schaub
Editor/Publisher Liberty-Tree.ca

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