A Christmas Toast At A Dinner For Ambassadors And Ministers
December 22, 1961
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
We have arrived at the time of the year when a large proportion of mankind makes a determined effort to be nice to their fellow men. Suddenly this topsy-turvey world seems rather a wonderful place to live in. Debtors cease to be hounded by their creditors, and quarrels are patched up. The cost of living, nuclear weapons and even party politics become matters of secondary importance.
A great change comes over man. He forgets himself and his worries. He is suddenly seized by a frantic urge to do good to others and instead of saying "What can I GET?" he says "What can I GIVE?" Each year, when this happens to him, he discovers anew, with the same thrill and freshness as though he had never experienced it all before, the great joy and happiness that he derives from doing all this good.
Well- no matter whether we are Christians or not, we really cannot help but be grateful for Christmas. F or, if Christmas can achieve this miracle of love and goodwill among so many different types of men - even if it only lasts for such a regrettably short period in each year- then, surely, it deserves to be encouraged and celebrated. It is an excellent thing that such an opportunity should be regularly afforded man to escape temporarily from the rut of selfishness, aggressiveness and other anti-social and unpleasant habits that usually make up his daily life. And, if we are somewhat disappointed that this upsurge of loving-kindness and good works to say nothing of those well mentioned New Year resolutions! - rarely survive the first few days of January - take heart! - for as sure as nothing follows day, it will all come back again in full measure next December!
Whether we are Christians or not, we should be glad to associate ourselves with the flow of good cheer that Christmas brings. Those of us here tonight are representatives of many different nations with different outlooks and different creeds. And yet lam sure l am right in saying that there is not one of us who is not caught up in this whirlwind of goodwill. We all sincerely desire peace and by friendship with everyone around us and feel down in our hearts, the desire to do as much as we can to foster such noble sentiments.
Very shortly, we will enter into the New Year. A fresh start is offered to us, a chance to take stock of ourselves, to sift the good things about us from the less desirable things, our successes from our failures. We will start off with a large credit balance of good intentions.
In spite of the old saying - "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," I think that it is better to start the New Year with good intentions than with nothing at all. One thing that we tend to overlook is that goodwill, peace and friendship require an equal amount of give and take, and sincerity on both sides. Maybe we are too proud sometimes or too sensitive to pour out our hearts; instead, we hold back our innermost and best feelings or stifle them with so much pride that they go unrecognized.
I feel that mankind can do well in the coming year to do some serious soul-searching. I think every man and woman, every leader, every nation, should ask themselves this question: "Do l honestly desire peace and friendship throughout the world?"
If the answer is sincerely in the affirmative, then we must bend our wills, and concentrate our energies on working to bring this about. It has given me a great deal of pleasure to entertain you all tonight. I shall see to it - and this is not just an empty New Year resolution - that we have such dinners regularly year by year.
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, l would like to propose a toast: To goodwill, to friendship and to peace among the nation and throughout the world.