Fr. James V. Schall: Christmas: Sane and Glad

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Editor’s note: this column originally appeared in the December 1987 issue of Crisis Magazine.

By Fr. James V. Schall, Crisis Magazine, December 25, 2020

The lesson from Isaiah at Midnight Mass on Christmas reads, “Thou has increased their joy and given them great gladness.” I am often struck by the fact that in Christianity joy and gladness are not so much a product of our own activities but something much more, something that happens when all that the Greeks might have meant by “happiness” is already fully present. Joy, even the fullest, can be “increased,” while “great gladness” is not earned but given. However noble and worthy it is to “earn” something, and it is, however much we want our happiness to be precisely “ours,” not someone else’s, still the promise of Isaiah does not portend something we might have expected.  …