Monday, December 14, 2020

Christmas can never be canceled


Christmas Can’t Be Canceled

A NOTE FROM OUR PUBLISHER: Christmas can never be canceled — not by presidents or governors, prime ministers or politicians.

The Nativity scene inside St. Peter’s Basilica celebrates the true meaning of Christmas.
The Nativity scene inside St. Peter’s Basilica celebrates the true meaning of Christmas. (photo: Courtney Mares/CNA)

In recent decades, militant atheists and their secularist political and judicial allies have advanced an aggressive campaign in the U.S. to drive any faith-based representation of Christmas from the public square by misconstruing what the U.S. Constitution actually says about the separation of church and state.

Every December these cultural Scrooges claim it’s insensitive to non-Christians to center the holiday season on the Person of Jesus Christ in today’s religiously and culturally diverse context. Yet as we know, without the visible presence of the Christ Child, the holiday loses its central meaning.

In 2020, the push to “cancel Christmas” has taken on new dimensions. Faced with increases in the number of COVID-19 cases, many government officials both at home and abroad have taken up the “cancel Christmas” mantra. A quick Google search will provide ample evidence of political leaders the world over warning that Christmas just can’t happen this year because of the pandemic! While they claim this is purely about public health and safety, it is hard to see this as anything but a new tactic in the secularist attempt to diminish the role of faith and religious belief in society.

We have seen this at play throughout the pandemic, as officials in many U.S. states placed burdensome restrictions on public worship, treating people of faith as second-class citizens and churches as nonessential. 

Perhaps nowhere was this more evident than in New York and California, where the governors of those states sought to unfairly restrict the attendance of the faithful at Catholic churches. 

Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court intervened, ruling in separate decisions that the government limitations imposed by New York and California on religious institutions were unconstitutional. 

“It is time — past time — to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques,” Justice Neil Gorsuch stated in the New York ruling.

While the Supreme Court has provided some relief against draconian restrictions, the fight to cancel Christmas goes on.

Presumptive President-elect Joe Biden is another political leader who has indicated that his preferences skew strongly in this direction. 

While Catholics in the U.S. grapple with measures to curtail public worship and celebrations, restrictions have been even more strident in other countries. In England, for example, a second national lockdown that included a complete shutdown of religious services was replaced early this month by a three-tiered system of restrictions. But while the system now permits limited public attendance at religious services, even in the least restrictive first tier people can meet only in groups of six or less, both indoors and outdoors — hardly numbers conducive to traditional English Yuletide gatherings.

Across the North Sea in Belgium, meanwhile, the government decreed Dec. 1 that all public Masses will remain suspended until Jan. 15, meaning that the nation’s 6.5 million Catholics will be forced to celebrate Christmas exclusively at home.

Canada is another nation where civic officials seem determined to dampen Christmas spirits as much as possible. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned last month that “a normal Christmas is, quite frankly, right out of the question.”

In the Canadian province of British Columbia, public-health officials have for the second time ordered a complete shutdown of all public religious worship — a draconian decision that was denounced as “baffling” by Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver — and some citizens have pushed back against the local restrictions. 

But, in the final analysis, we should remember that we don’t have to rely primarily on sound court decisions — welcome though they certainly are — to resist the unfair edicts of Caesar when it comes to celebrating Christmas.

Christmas can never be canceled — not by presidents or governors, prime ministers or politicians. Christmas, after all, is the celebration of the birth of Emmanuel, God joining himself to suffering humanity as a tiny and vulnerable baby 2,000 years ago in a humble manger in Bethlehem. And nothing can ever “cancel” the hope and excitement that Christian believers experience every year as they celebrate the earthly arrival of Jesus. So while our Christmas celebrations this year might be different than in the past, they should be as joyful as ever, bringing us the true peace that can only come from the Christ Child.

I wish you a joyous and merry Christmas! May God bless you!

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