A couple of weeks ago, in this column, I wrote that it’s that time of year, that “most wonderful time of year,” when our country’s thought police come out of the woodwork to tell us what we can and cannot say. I wrote of stories too numerous to count where our culture’s minions of mind control stand barricaded behind their cash registers at Target and Starbucks, telling us what greetings we can and cannot use. I wrote of doublespeak and hypocrisy. I wrote of intolerance while claiming to be tolerant. I wrote of Orwell’s obedient lemmings waving their Christmas banners of inclusion while shamelessly excluding anyone who dares to say, “Merry Christmas.”
This duplicitous lunacy is not new. In fact, it has been with us for years. Consider the case of American Airlines Flight 1140.
On Dec. 23, 2015, a passenger was tossed off a plane at New York’s La Guardia Airport because of his reaction to an airline worker who wished him, shame for shame, a “Merry Christmas.”
As the story goes, this traveler was waiting to board the plane when the gate agent welcomed everyone with the traditional season’s greeting. The offended passenger responded by shouting, “You shouldn’t say that. Not everyone celebrates Christmas.”
Well, once seated inside, our Mr. Scrooge was greeted by another American Airlines employee who was apparently oblivious to the earlier exchange. This time, it was a flight attendant who made the same unforgivable error of wishing Ebenezer a “Merry Christmas.”
And that was the last straw. “Don’t say Merry Christmas,” raged Jack Frost before launching into a tirade whereby he presumed to lecture the attendants, the pilot and all others within earshot about their festive faux pas.
Refusing to calm down, he continued his tirade. The end result was that he was escorted off the plane as his audience of fellow passengers burst into cheers and applause at his departure.
While this story may seem humorous because of its absurdity, we need to think about its serious side for a moment.
Consider, for example, the man’s premise that Christmas, i.e., the historicity of the birth of Christianity, is an offense and that this malcontent, and presumably millions of others like him, would be better off without it.
Our first reaction to this claim should be to ask a basic question. What would the world look like today if it weren’t for Christmas? In other words, what would life be like if our grumpy traveler had his way and the “ideas and acts [of Christmas had not been] hurled across the centuries and around the world” (Thomas Cahill); some 2000 years ago?
Whether you’re a believer in the theology of Christmas or simply an open-minded historian, you have to confess to the impact of the holiday’s sociology and cosmology on western civilization. The fact of the matter is that 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 Emperor Constantine, to Wesley, Wilberforce and Whitfield; to Chesterton and Lewis, millions of lives have been turned from deception and debauchery to compassion and love because of Christmas.
History tells us that the Greek and Roman cultures stopped the practice of “exposure,” otherwise known as infanticide, because of Christmas. The Celtics, Prussians, Aztecs and Mayans abandoned human sacrifice because of Christmas. Sexual fidelity and respect for marriage were normalized in the Roman Empire and throughout the West because of Christmas. Women were no longer considered mere property and 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 and the elderly became expected during the Industrial Revolution because of Christmas. Hospitals, orphanages, child labor laws, education, economic freedom, the dignity of labor, civil rights, private property and racial equality all were established and promoted 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 Matthew 1:21 that “His name shall be called Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins,” and a brief look back at history tells us that this is so true! Christmas not only saves us from our personal sins, but the “ideas and acts” of Christmas have saved us from the sins of untold others who before the birth of Christ would have ignored us, used us, oppressed us, enslaved us or even killed us in the halls of their governments and on the altars of their gods.
So, to the ill-informed and intolerant passenger of Flight 1140 and all those like him, let’s all join in wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and thanking God for it.
• Everett Piper is currently a candidate for Commissioner in Osage County, Oklahoma, and a columnist for the Washington Times.