The Christmas season is upon us and once again, the headlines in the mainstream news are replete with stories of secular intolerance of Christ’s mass. Leading this year’s Festivus parade is Jennifer Sinclair, the principal of Nebraska’s Manchester Elementary School who sent out a memo earlier this week to her faculty, staff, students and parents telling them that Santa Claus, Christmas trees, reindeer, the colors green and red, and even candy canes were considered offensive and would, therefore, be prohibited at her school.
Why specifically candy canes? Well to quote Ms. Sinclair: “Historically, the shape is a ‘J’ for Jesus. The red is for the blood of Christ and the white is a symbol of his resurrection.”
Doubling down on her intolerance of all ideas, colors, symbols, animals, icons, trees and even candy that she considers to be intolerable, while at the same time demanding the exclusion of everything she has labeled exclusive, the good principal summarized her head-spinning hypocrisy by saying, ” in our school and it is our job to be inclusive.”
In other words, in Ms. Sinclair’s mind, a holiday that is specifically set aside to commemorate Jesus Christ should only be celebrated if it is completely expunged of any reference of Jesus Christ. Forget etymology. Forget history. Forget logic. Forget common sense. Forget her shallow and self-refuting claims of inclusion and tolerance. Christmas should only be celebrated if it is Christ-less.
Setting aside the fact that this is yet another glaring example of the progressive left’s ongoing disregard for intellectual consistency, it might be interesting to consider the consequences of what is implied in Ms. Sinclair’s memo; a telling of human history where Christ’s birth is ignored and, in fact, it is assumed that he never was born in the first place. In other words, what would life look like today if it weren’t for Christmas; if as Thomas Cahill said, the “ideas and acts” of Christmas had not been “hurled across the centuries and around the world” some 2,000 years ago?
Whether you’re a believer in the theology of Christmas or simply an open-minded and honest historian, it is difficult, if not impossible, for you to ignore or deny the impact Christmas’ sociology and cosmology has had on the world. The fact of the matter is the story of the birth of Christ has dramatically changed humanity’s understanding of life and the way we live it. From Saul of Tarsus to the Emperor Constantine, from Wilberforce to Whitfield, and from Chesterton to Lewis, millions of lives have been turned from deception and selfishness to compassion and love because of Christmas.
Greek and Roman cultures stopped the practice of child “exposure” because of Christmas. The Celtics and Prussians abandoned human sacrifice because of Christmas. Sexual fidelity and respect for marriage was normalized in the Roman Empire because of Christmas. Women were no longer considered mere property and/or chattel because of Christmas. Compassion for the sick and the dying during the great plagues of Europe took place because of Christmas.
Charity for the poor, for orphans and for the old became expected during the Industrial Revolution because of Christmas. Hospitals, child labor laws, education, economic freedom, the dignity of labor, civil rights and racial equality all were established because of Christmas. Slavery was abolished and the sanctity of all human life was celebrated because of Christmas.
Christmas changed the world. We are told in the ancient book written by Matthew that “His name shall be called Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” A brief look back at history tells us that, indeed, this is so true. Christmas not only saves us from our own sins, but the “ideas and acts” of Christmas have saved us from the sins of millions around us; millions who — prior to the birth of Christ — would have ignored us, used us, oppressed us, enslaved us, or even killed us on the altars of their governments and their gods.
Harry Truman said it well: “Down the ages from the first Christmas through all the years [since], mankind in its weary pilgrimage through the changing world has been strengthened by the message of Christmas The religion which came to the world heralded by the song of the angels remains today the world’s best hope ”
Maybe, just maybe, the students in Nebraska’s Manchester Elementary School, as well as those nearest to you, would find much more benefit than harm in learning the complete and full story of Christmas. Maybe it’s not all that bad of an idea after all to ask them to consider the message and the meaning of the candy cane.
• Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is the author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).
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