The World and Everything in It — December 18, 2019

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Today the House votes on the articles of impeachment against President Trump. The Senate considers the matter next, and we’ll talk about what’s likely to happen there.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.

Also WORLD Tour with Mindy Belz.

Plus, the United States during World War II placed Japanese Americans into internment camps. You’ll hear from two brothers who lived through it.

SAM: I remember getting off the train and we were surrounded by all these guards and they piled us on the backs of these army trucks. That was awful.

And Andrée Seu Peterson reflects on a tragedy that made the meaning of Christmas clear.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, December 18th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Now news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: House set for historic impeachment vote today » For only the third time ever, the House of Representatives is set to vote today on whether to impeach a sitting president. 

Members of the House Rules Committee met Tuesday to set the guidelines for hours of floor debate ahead of the historic vote. The two sides once again clashed on the merits of the case against President Trump and on the impeachment process itself. Georgia GOP Congressman Rob Woodall…

WOODALL: The process gets described over and over again as if the White House had plenty of opportunity, and everybody had an equal chance to question—nonsense, nonsense! And to let that record stand perpetuates a myth that this was supposed to have been a fair process. 

But Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings of Florida said those Republican complaints are a smokescreen. 

HASTINGS: All they want to talk about is process. This ain’t about process. This is about the president abusing his power. 

Democrats appear to have the numbers to impeach the president today. Only one Democratic member, New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew, has said he’ll vote “no” on both articles. 

Van Drew reportedly plans to switch parties soon, becoming a Republican, at least partly because of blowback from within the Democratic party over his opposition to impeaching the president. 

No Republican has announced support for the articles of impeachment. 

House passes $1.4 trillion spending bill » Despite the deep divide on impeachment, House lawmakers cooperated Tuesday on a bipartisan budget bill to fund the government through next September.

AUDIO: The yeas are 280, and the nays are 138. The motion is adopted. 

The $1.4 trillion package once again increases government spending by $49 billion.

The bill provides nearly $740 billion for the military and about $630 billion for the departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and others.

It permanently repeals three taxes that generated about $40 billion a year to pay for Obamacare. 

It also raises the tobacco-buying age from 18 to 21, a change that applies to e-cigarettes and vaping devices as well. The bill now heads to the Senate. 

Pope Francis lifts shroud of secrecy over abuse cases » Pope Francis is lifting a shroud of secrecy in the Roman Catholic Church that many say protected pedophiles and silenced victims. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: Francis on Tuesday scrapped the use of so-called “pontifical secrecy.” That is the Vatican’s highest level of secrecy in clergy sexual abuse cases. Critics say the church has used it to cover up abuses. 

Pope Francis said going forward the church will handle clergy abuse with a lower level of confidentiality. In-house legal proceedings still will not be public. But the new rule says official secrecy will no longer get in the way of civil law proceedings. Francis also increased the age separating child and adult pornography from 14 to 18.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s leading sex crimes investigator, said the reform will strengthen cooperation with civil law enforcement.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.

New Jersey bill to end religious exemptions for vaccines stalls amid protests » New Jersey’s Assembly on Monday passed a measure to eliminate religious exemptions for vaccines for schoolchildren. But the bill stalled in the state Senate as opponents shouted down lawmakers.

The Democrat-led Assembly passed the bill 45-25, with six abstentions. But the Democrat-controlled state Senate postponed its decision because there weren’t enough yes votes.

For hours on Monday, loud chants from opponents disrupted the state Senate session, with protesters shouting “We do not consent,” and “In God we trust.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney said he will post the bill for a vote again before the legislative session expires next month. He said “we’re not done with it. They can cheer all they want,” adding, “It’s the right policy decision.”

Former Pakistan leader sentenced to death » A Pakistani court on Tuesday sentenced the country’s former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf to death. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The sentence stems from a treason case related to the state of emergency Musharraf imposed in 2007 while in power.

It’s the first time in Pakistan’s history that a former military chief and ruler of the country has received the death penalty. The court sentenced him in absentia

Musharraf was allowed to leave the country in 2016 to seek medical treatment. He’s been living in Dubai and is said to be very ill. If he were to return to Pakistan, he would have the right to challenge his conviction and sentence in court. But that’s unlikely. And Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates have no extradition treaty. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

COVINGTON: I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: what to expect as the impeachment process moves into the Senate. Plus, remembering a painful time in history to ensure it never happens again. This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, the 18th of December, 2019. Just one week till Christmas! Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: Washington Wednesday. 

The House is set to vote today on two articles of impeachment against President Trump. House Democrats have enough votes to pass the articles on a party line vote, but it’s a different story in the Senate. 

There Republicans hold 53 seats. Democrats hold 45 seats, plus two independents who caucus with them, bringing their total to 47. 

Those 100 men and women do not technically vote on the articles of impeachment. They decide whether to convict the president and remove him from office. It’ll take a two-thirds majority to do that.

REICHARD: For more insight on how things may go down in the Senate, WORLD Radio’s J.C. Derrick met with Mark Strand in the nation’s capital. Strand is a former Senate staffer and is now president of the Congressional Institute. That’s a nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping members of Congress and congressional staff better understand the legislative process.

J.C. DERRICK: There have been three impeachment proceedings in U.S. history, but only two reached the Senate stage of the process. And they were handled in pretty different ways. Can you contrast what the country experienced with Andrew Johnson in 1868 and the Clinton impeachment of 1998? 

MARK STRAND: Yeah, the impeachment of Andrew Johnson was really a historical anomaly. Abraham Lincoln had made Andrew Johnson—a Democrat, former slave owner from Tennessee—vice president in 1864 thinking that the war was going to be won and that he wanted to start the reconciliation process early. 

Turned out that Lincoln, of course, was assassinated and then you ended up with a southern Democrat as the president—which, for the radical Republicans who were in charge of the House and the Senate, this was really unacceptable.

So, they basically looked for ways to impeach him. He finally gave them a reason, which was basically they passed a law saying he couldn’t fire Lincoln’s cabinet secretaries without their permission, and he did. 

And so the House overwhelmingly moved to impeach him and the Senate had a trial for conviction, and by one vote Andrew Johnson survives. They nearly got two-thirds of the vote to throw him out of office. So, it was a rather remarkable political exercise.

The only time we’ve ever had a trial, though, of course, was Bill Clinton. When Bill Clinton was impeached by the House on two charges having to do with lying to a grand jury and basically his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. The House voted to impeach him on these two charges and then the Senate moved to acquit him. One vote was—he won. It was 45 votes in favor of conviction. They needed 67 votes and they didn’t get it. The other was 50/50, but, again, nowhere near the two-thirds. 

DERRICK: So, both of them were handled in very different ways. How will the Senate determine how the rules play out this time? Will they vote on the rules by which they will carry this out? 

STRAND: The precedence of the Senate say that they must hold a trial if the House moves articles of impeachment. As I said, this will only be the third president this happened to. But it’s happened fairly regularly with judges. 

So they’re used to this process and the first cause of business is to then actually hold a vote on the rules that will be used to consider how impeachment will be done. This can determine how long the Senate has to be here, whether they will hear evidence, whether they’ll hear from witnesses. That’s a vote they could take. It’s not guaranteed. The Senate has to vote to call witnesses they want to do it. And the key thing is it has to be a simple majority vote in the Senate for these rules. 

But they’ll set up everything for how long they want to go, how many people can be on the prosecuting team, how many people can be in the defense team, can House members join the defense team? Normally it’s just the president’s own lawyers. But could they bring members over from the House like Doug Collins who’s on Judiciary Committee and ask him to sit on the defense team for the president. 

DERRICK: Or Jim Jordan. There are several candidates.

STRAND: Exactly. But that will all be decided in the rules package the Senate does in the very beginning. 

DERRICK: Now, I know the Constitution stipulates that the chief justice of the Supreme Court will preside over these hearings—

STRAND: For presidential impeachments, yes. 

DERRICK: Right, so how does that align with Mitch McConnell being the Senate majority leader? To what extent does he have authority, like, where do those lines of authority run? 

STRAND: His is still really pretty much a political leadership in terms of driving these votes on the rules package. 

And, by the way, they can amend these rules throughout the trial. So at any point that they decide that, well, we didn’t want to call witnesses before but now we feel we need to, they could change their minds and call—which is exactly what they did in the Clinton impeachment.

DERRICK: By a simple majority vote.

STRAND: Simple majority vote. Initially they said they didn’t want to call witnesses, then they did, then they thought better of it and they basically held depositions and had videotapes of the witnesses shown later at the trial. But for the most part, they could change at any time. 

So, McConnell will still have a leadership role to play and he will still control the time. For instance, he could actually go to other business at different parts of the day. So, let’s say they want to consider the USMCA free trade agreement between the United States and Canada and Mexico, he could do that in the mornings and hold the trial in the afternoon. So, he still has control over the agenda and sort of the procedure. But in the trial itself he has no role. He is just another juror just like every other senator.

DERRICK: OK. And it seems like he would have political motivation to do business in the morning and impeachment hearings in the afternoon because he can lock senators—who may or may not be running for president—into staying in Washington longer. Is that correct? 

STRAND: Yeah. Currently as we speak, there are still five senators remaining in the Democrat primary who will have to be sitting as jurors in this trial. And if you’re a Democrat senator running for president of the United States, you’re not going to be forgiven by your party base for skipping that trial. And so they’re going to have to be there. 

And one of the main topics of conversation will be Hunter Biden, so it’s going to affect six candidates running for president when you think about it. So Peter Buttigieg must think this is his lucky month.

DERRICK: Yeah, exactly. I’m glad you touched on that because that was my next question. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Senate will acquit, but there seems to be a lot of buzz and intrigue about how that will play out. And you mentioned Hunter Biden. To what extent may Republicans try to turn the spotlight on other elements of this whole story to their own benefit? 

STRAND: You know, it’s an interesting question and different people have different views. They could make this a political thing and call the witnesses they think the House didn’t call. They could call Adam Schiff as a witness, if they wanted to. They could call Hunter Biden. They could call Joe Biden. 

They could try to call the whistleblower, which is one of the worst kept secrets in Washington who the whistleblower is. 

They could do that, but at the same time they’re going to have to get Democrats witnesses too. And so who might they call? Would they call the former national security adviser [John] Bolton who did not testify in the House that he might now testify? And apparently he was not happy with what was going on in the Ukraine situation. Do the Republicans really want him testifying? 

I think in the end cooler heads are going to prevail. I think there are a lot of senators who still are fairly close to Joe Biden even in the Republican Party. And they think if he were to become president they could work with him. The idea of embarrassing him personally, especially through his son, is not going to sit well with a lot of senators. So I suspect in the end that they will probably have fewer witnesses or maybe none at all.

DERRICK: And so how long would you expect the process to last, start to finish?

STRAND: I think without witnesses, it all depends on how much business they want to do in the mornings, side business. But I think right now they’re probably looking at two to three weeks. There have been timetables that have gone as long as four to six weeks. 

But I think that since everyone kind of knows how it’s going to go, I don’t think Republicans want to play the same games that the Democrats played in the House. And they’ll do their due diligence and actually have a trial and consider all things. But probably try to get it over with as fast as they can.

DERRICK: OK. Mark Strand, president of the Congressional Institute. Thank you so much.

STRAND: My pleasure. Thanks.

J.C. DERRICK: Hey, before we move on, a quick update for you. You may recall earlier this year I made a promise at our live event in Dallas. I said we would add direct links to segment transcripts in the show notes. That way from your phone you can scroll down, click a link, and immediately have a segment to share—without navigating to the website.

Well, I won’t bore you with all the technical reasons why that proved so difficult, but it was! We spent a lot of staff time on this and ultimately changed podcast publishing services last month. And I don’t know if you noticed or not, but last week, hyperlinks appeared in your program description!

We work on behind-the-scenes tasks like this almost every day. Coordinating a team, learning new technology, fixing bugs—it’s a lot of work. It takes time. And it takes financial resources, too.

I’m J.C. Derrick, and this is WORLD’s December Giving Drive. We need your help to keep our work going—and the upgrades coming. I hope you will consider giving a gift today at Anything helps. Thank you.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with senior editor Mindy Belz.

MINDY BELZ, REPORTER: Protests in Lebanon—We start today in the Middle East.

AUDIO: [Sounds of chanting]

Supporters of Lebanon’s two main Shiite groups, Hezbollah and Amal, attacked a camp of anti-government protesters in Beirut on Tuesday. They burned tents and lobbed rocks at police guarding the camp.

Police responded with tear gas and water cannons in the strongest show of force in two months.

The mostly peaceful protests started in October amid anger over government corruption and mismanagement. Lebanon is facing its worst economic and financial crisis in decades. The entire cabinet resigned in response to the protests, but sectarian divisions have made forming a new cabinet difficult.

The country’s largest Christian groups have refused to support former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. But he faces no opponent in his bid to take back the job he gave up in October.

Libya becomes international flashpoint—Next we go to Turkey.

ERDOGAN: [Man speaking Turkish]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his willingness to send troops to Libya during a televised interview on Sunday.

Turkey has vowed to defend the government in Tripoli against ongoing attempts to unseat it. The so-called Government of National Accord has international backing, but Turkey’s military intervention does not.

Erdogan’s move is largely seen as an attempt to gain control over the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt are already vying for underwater oil and gas deposits in the area. They say Turkey’s recent agreement with Tripoli to redraw maritime boundaries violates international law.

China football flap over Uighurs—Next we go to China.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Mandarin]

A spokesman for the country’s Foreign Ministry accused a Premier League soccer player of falling prey to fake news about the plight of the country’s Uighur Muslims.

Mesut Ozil is a forward with the London-based club Arsenal. In a tweet on Friday he criticized China for targeting Muslims for persecution. In response, Chinese state-run television pulled the broadcast of Arsenal’s Sunday match against Manchester City.

China is the Premier League’s most lucrative overseas market. Arsenal tried to distance itself from the fallout with its own social media message on the Chinese platform Weibo.

The furor over Ozil’s tweet echoes Beijing’s attacks against a U.S. basketball coach who tweeted support for pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong earlier this year. China is increasingly using its purchasing power with international companies and cultural organizations to stifle criticism.

Sudan court convicts Omar al-Bashir of money laundering—And finally, we end today in Africa.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Arabic]

A judge in Sudan has sentenced former president Omar al-Bashir to two years in detention for corruption. The charges stemmed from millions of dollars Bashir took from Saudi Arabia. He admitted to getting a total of $90 million but denied the funds were to be used for private interests.

Bashir ruled Sudan for three decades. Months of mass protests earlier this year prompted the Army to depose him. A joint civilian and military sovereign council now controls the country until it can transition to full civilian rule.

The 75-year-old former strongman will serve his sentence at a correctional facility for the elderly. He still faces another trial over ordering security forces to kill protesters earlier this year. When that’s over, the International Criminal Court would like to try him for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Those charges stem from the 2003 war in Darfur.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Mindy Belz.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Each Christmas, Julie Ruttinger proudly displays a family heirloom that’s passed down through her family more than a century. 

Her great great grandmother Fidelia Ford made it in 1878. And her family has carefully preserved it in her honor ever since. 

You might guess this treasure is a piece of jewelry or maybe a Christmas ornament. But no. This heirloom is a fruitcake. A 141-year-old fruitcake. 

You see, Ford started a tradition to bake a fruitcake and let it age for a year before serving it at Christmastime. But she died before serving her final fruitcake. And her husband just couldn’t bring himself to eat it.

Great great granddaughter Ruttinger told The Detroit News:

RUTTINGER: And they just never cut it. And why they didn’t throw it away? Don’t know. They just hung onto it. And after—I don’t know how many years—that they never cut it, they decided not to cut it and just to keep it.

Since then, the now rock-hard fruitcake has passed through five generations. 

For you trivia buffs: the oldest cake in the world is more than 4,000 years old, found in the tomb of an Egyptian prince.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD: Today is Wednesday, December 18th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio, and we are so glad you are! Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: part of our occasional series, Living History. 

Each year on the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 we hear stories of valor and sacrifice.  

A different kind of sacrifice happened to many Japanese Americans after that surprise attack by the Japanese military.  Some government officials worried Japanese Americans could still be loyal to the emperor. So in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that forced 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry into internment camps around the western part of the United States. 

Nearly two-thirds were American citizens.

REICHARD: Seventy-five years ago today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Japanese internment, though it also ruled separately that loyal citizens must be released. 

Japanese Americans could go home, but many faced the difficult task of rebuilding their lives. Every year, former internees still gather at a camp location in Wyoming. This summer, WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg met up with two brothers who want to make sure what happened isn’t forgotten.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: The Mihara brothers named Sam and Nob, spent three years of their boyhood near Cody, Wyoming. Sam say it’s a time they both wanted to forget.

SAM: I remember hating Wyoming…And I remember not ever wanting to come back for any reason at all for a long time. 

They hated Wyoming because the government forced them to live here in the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. Yet today, the brothers sit in the camp’s museum overlooking the former grounds. 

Sam says the brothers only came back for the opening of this museum. And, when they did, they quickly realized things had changed since World War II. 

SAM: Now when we opened this facility in 2011, we went downtown and every store window had the welcome signs of welcome Japanese Americans… That I’ll never forget. 

The Mihara brothers grew up in San Francisco’s Japantown.Their father was a journalist and their mom took care of their home.  

SAM: We moved to a nice house on a, in the heart of Japantown San Francisco and we’re very, very comfortable. 


PEARL HARBOR NEWS: Here is the motion picture record released by the United States Navy of the havoc wrought by the Japs sneak, sky and sea raid on Pearl Harbor. 

After Pearl Harbor, the brothers remember how there were more police in their neighborhood who didn’t let them leave Japantown. Nob Mihara recalls their father getting rid of their Japanese possessions. 

NOB: My dad had a big collection of Japanese films. And he was throwing it in the fireplace burning it all up. 

After the government issued removal orders, the Miharas reported to a temporary detention center. Three months later, they boarded a passenger train for an unknown destination. The train stopped at Heart Mountain. 

SAM: I remember getting off the train and we were surrounded by all these guards… and they piled us on the backs of these army trucks… and then they drove us right through the main gate and right straight to our barracks. Uh, that was, that was awful. 

On this day, the brothers make that same drive up the road. 

SAM: This is the best viewpoint of the camp right up here.

They walk the ground where the sprawling camp once stood under the shadow of Heart Mountain named for its heart-shaped peak. Today only a handful of the camp’s structures remain. 

When the Miharas arrived, this was a dusty plateau covered with sage brush and barracks. 

NOB: I got used to the smell of the sagebrush and this mountain. I remember seeing it all summer and into the fall. It’s like that come winter snow. All white. I remember seeing that in white and come spring it’s green. So the seasons we saw on that mountain. 

The camp had 20 blocks, each with two dozen barracks. Each building housed six families in one-room “apartments.” Two hundred fifty people had to share one cafeteria, laundry room, and bathroom facilities. 

The brothers still remember where their barracks stood. Sam Mihara points to a clump of trees about half a mile to his left.

SAM: Our barrack was just this side of that. Block 14. And on the right side, way over here, on the foothills, that’s the other end of the camp. 

Each day began with breakfast, then school. Adults worked in the hospital, cafeterias or in the fields growing vegetables. Eventually, the guards let internees leave camp boundaries to hike, swim or go into town to shop. 

SAM: Oh, it was easy to get out. NOB: Oh yeah, we snuck out many times. 

But no one tried to leave the area. 

SAM: The records indicate, not a single person actually escaped from camp. We were literally trapped. People outside would recognize us right away.

Camp life took a heavy toll on the adults who had left businesses, land, and possessions. Sometimes medical care was inadequate. The Mihara’s father had glaucoma. Unable to see a specialist, he went blind. 

After the Supreme Court ruled against holding loyal citizens, Japanese Americans could leave.

Fearing hostility on the West Coast, the Miharas first went to Salt Lake City… then eventually back to San Francisco. The family tried to put Heart Mountain behind them. In fact, nobody really talked about the injustice for decades.

SAM: A lot of Japanese, the older people, um, took the approach of, um, it can’t be helped. 

In the 1980s, former internees began pushing for an apology and financial reparations. President Ronald Reagan gave Japanese Americans both. 

REAGAN: We gather here today to right a grave wrong… we must recognize the internment of Japanese Americans was just that, a mistake. 

The Mihara brothers also didn’t want to look back. But when they did return to Heart Mountain, they realized they needed to remember and tell their stories.

SAM: I brought my grandkids here it’s important for them to know so they can pass it on to someone else. 

Today, the Mihara brothers write and speak about their experience whenever they can, bearing witness to the injustice and then the strength it took to heal.

SAM: I think we realize now that, you know, it was the decision makers of 1942 who made the awful decision, uh, and that hopefully most people today realize that it was a mistake and, uh, it shouldn’t happen to anyone else. 

NOB: Mistakes were made. We’re here to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

MUSIC: Kishi Bashi—Violin Tsunami

For WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg reporting from Cody, Wyoming.

NICK EICHER: Today is Wednesday, December 18th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s WORLD commentator Andrée Seu Peterson with a Christmas reflection. It’s a selection from her 2008 book titled,  Won’t Let You Go Unless You Bless Me.

ANDREE SEU PETERSON, COMMENTATOR: On the night Jesse fell I was starting to be concerned about Christmas. Oh, not about the story in Matthew 1 particularly, but about presents and money and time crunches. Jesse put an end to this when she somehow let her body drop from a 30-foot bridge onto macadam about a mile from here in November. The police are investigating.

Jesse came to live with me in September, a high-school friend of my older daughter, an art student just back from a year in Rome and needing a credible address so as to pursue studies in the university 10 minutes from here. I offered my daughter’s old room and told her straight up that I wasn’t much of a hand-holder. She was 21, she could come and go as she pleased, raid the fridge, and generally make herself at home. I kept her in homemade granola, which I noticed she relished.

It is amazing that Jesse survived, let alone that she choked up my phone number when they found her oozing blood from the head. Detectives at the scene called here to get her parents’ phone numbers, before volleying questions about mental health, to which, of course, I pleaded ignorance. Memory rifled hurriedly through shards of recent conversation for clues, not so much for the detective as for me, to learn what I already feared to learn, both about Jess and myself.

I am momentarily in love with the medical profession, with a neurologist and a trauma doctor especially, who met us in the waiting room an hour later, looking stern and painting every bleak scenario, as was their duty. 

But by morning light they had slain each medical Hydra and Chimaera and brought better news than anyone deserved to expect. The next day they’d tackle the femur, and the next day a scattering of broken vertebrae with awful names like T-12.

In the three months that Jesse lived under my roof I sensed pressures and deep waters, and tacked the girl onto the end of my prayer list. On the rare occasions that we did speak, I dispensed mealy mouthed counsel you could have pulled from any self-esteem handbook at Borders. 

I was working up to sharing Christ, but it was never the right time. “The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.” 

But there is nothing treacly and sentimental about Christmas. Soon there would be the slaughter of the innocents in Ramah, and “Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more.” 

If there are no Ramahs there is no need for Jesus. If there are no young women who fall off bridges because they are sad, and no middle-aged callous women with calloused hearts, then what is the point of Christmas?

Things are suddenly sharp and clear. And as that old unsentimental Jew Simeon dared to put it, at the risk of spoiling holiday cheer, Christmas is here “that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

For WORLD Radio, I’m Andrée Seu Peterson.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: the agency tasked with protecting children in Texas is facing accusations of harming them instead. We’ll tell you why.

And, the 30th anniversary of the Romanian Revolution. We’ll meet someone who lived through the turbulent time. 

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Go now the same way: in grace and truth.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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