A Tender, Unitarian Christmasrnby Aaron D. WolfrnYankees Touching Harps of GoldrnAppropriately, it was 1984. The Reagan-Bush ticket hadrnwon reelection. The U.S. Olympic team had destroyedrneveryone else at tlie Summer Games in Los Angeles. ‘I’he HIVrnvirus had heen identified, and a cure for AIDS would surely follow.rnHezhollah terrorists had bombed tlie U.S. embassy northeastrnof Beniit, and the CIA was busy training terrorists to carryrnout covert operations in Lebanon to stamp out terrorism. Allrnwas right with the world.rnExcept in Africa, where people were starving, while Americanrnyuppies sat at home in the lap of luxury. Fortunately, a collectivernof British pop stars decided to do something about it.rnChristmas was approaching, and American consiuners werernhitting the malls. Wliy not harness the horsepower of the Americanrnmallrat by letting him fill his stockings with cassette recordingsrnof a new rock ‘n’ roll Christmas anthem and then send allrnof the profits to Africa to feed the hungry? Boy George, GeorgernMichael, Bono, and Simon le Bon—Christmas emissaries, onernand all —joined hands, hearts, and voices under the namern”Band-Aid” to produce “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” inrnwhich they chanted:rnthere won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas timernThe greatest gift they’ll get this year is lifernWliere nothing ever growsrnNo rain or rivers flowrnDo they know it’s Chrishnas time at all?rnSeems kind of a shame, after all, for Americans to be sittingrnaround at Midnight Masses or looking at manger scenes whilernheathens are starving in Africa—no yule log, no chestnuts.rnThey do not even have snow.rnAaron D. Wolf is the assistant editor of Chronicles and arnchurch historian.rnBand-Aid, in all its glory, embodied the American Unitarianrnspirit of Chrishnas-a time to love, to laugh, to give. A timernwhen, in the words of one Unitarian minister, “God does notrnput flesh on in the person of Jesus; God puts on my flesh. Godrnis incarnate in my heart and acts in my life.” Sure, we believernin “incarnation,” but not tlie historic one in which God took onrnhuman flesh so that He might be born under the Law to redeemrnthose born under the Law (heathen Africans and you andrnme), ‘llie Christinas myth teaches that each of us contains thernspark of divinity, and that wg —not as Christians or “littlernChrists,” but as little gods—are the Incarnation.rnMirch hay is made today among Christians regarding therncommercialization of Christmas, but littie is said about the Unitarianizationrnof this, the “most wonderfiil time of the year”-rnmaybe because most do not notice or mind. Yet the season ofrnChrishnas—especially Christmas Day, the Feast of the Nativityrn—is supposed to be a celebration of the central fact of thernChristian faith. Take away the tinsel, the day-after-Thanksgivingrnsales, the Grinch, and folks dressed up like Eskimos, andrnwhat do you have left? Good, old-fashioned, American UnitarianrnChrishnas, with “God bless us, every one,” and “every timerna bell rings, an angel gets his wings,” and “angels bending nearrnthe earth to touch their harps of gold.”rnMany, perhaps, do not realize that “It Came Upon a MidnightrnClear” was penned by a Unitarian minister, EdmimdrnSears (1810-1876). This “Christinas carol” is sung in manyrnCatholic, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches, despite the factrnthat it does not even mention the “myth” of the birth of thernChrist Child. Its message is frighteningly Unitarian:rnBut with the woes of sin and strifernThe world has suffered long;rnBeneatii flic angel-strain have rolledrnTwo thousand years of wrong;rnDECEMBER 2001/17rnrnrn