The joyful announcement of the angles is balanced by sober realities.

The other day I saw a bumper sticker that read, FIGHT FOR PEACE. This might seem a contradiction in terms, but is it?

The sixties were called “the frustrated generation”; the seventies were called “the me generation”; and now the eighties are called “the survival generation.”

Certainly this is the generation destined to live in the midst of danger, crisis, fear, war, and death. When we read of the scores of little wars in many parts of the world, we sense that something fearful is about to happen. A few months ago the American Broadcasting Company did an hour-long study of the Middle East at prime evening time, entitled “Near Armageddon.”

David Inglis, senior physicist at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, warns in his book, Unless Peace Comes, of a hydrogen bomb wrapped in cobalt that can annihilate all life in the northern hemisphere. And a few weeks ago the Chicago Tribune ran an article on American youth and the bomb that said, “65 percent of the kids thought a nuclear war would happen in the next ten years and they could not survive it.… Nuclear becomes the ultimate issue with them, the final injustice.”

In his book Life Against Death, Norman Brown says, “Today, even the survival of humanity is a utopian hope.” We know that things cannot go on as they are. History is about to reach an impasse. Many world leaders now feel that the world is on a collision course with catastrophe, both economically and militarily. Something seems about to give. The world crisis presses in around us, making us want to escape. We wish it were just a bad dream that will be gone when we awaken tomorrow—but there is no escape.

Christmas 1982 comes on such a world. With ...

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