So we made it to Christmas. It isn’t a normal Christmas by any means: no holiday parties with sloshed colleagues, no late Manhattan nights with red and green lights flickering on chilly streets, no large gatherings or intimacy with our elder kin. As one of the proud New Yorkers who has yet to move to Florida, I can pretty much say that all I want for Christmas is a bar that stays open past 10 p.m.
Gov. Cuomo for well on 10 months has been doing his best John Lithgow impression, turning the most vibrant place in the world into the little town in “Footloose” — no dinners out, no movies, no joy. And he is convinced that Santa has a great present in store for him, even after he presented the restaurant workers of the city with a cold lump of coal, throwing them out of work days before Christmas based on unscientific, evidence-free reasoning.
This muted, quiet, lonely Christmas should inform our New Year’s resolution. Just a few simple words: never again. Say it with me. Never. Again.
Never again can we allow petty tyrants and bureaucratic weirdos who don’t follow their own rules to destroy our rights in the name of protecting us. Never again can we allow Big Tech and mega-corporations to push us into permanent techno-remote living, an atomized existence in which the joy of human contact is replaced by faces on screens and empty Amazon boxes.
Never again can we allow the city of 8 million stories to deflate into one sad tale of isolation and boredom.
“Flattening the curve” — remember that? — was one thing. But this inhuman regime has persisted far beyond that goal. And there are those in the public-health establishment who are openly talking about extending social distancing and masks even after we’ve defeated COVID, because, after all, the regular flu is pretty bad, too. Wouldn’t be nice if we could hit pause on life until death itself has been conquered?
No. Hell no. Never again.
Have you noticed the perverse joy some politicians and public-health officials seemed to take in “canceling Thanksgiving” and “canceling Christmas” — a joy that bespoke an aggressive secularism keen to flaunt its mastery over religion and tradition? That arrogance, too, must be met with our resolute “No” in 2021.
What the joy of Christmas must remind us of is that no mortal king, or governor, gives us our rights; it is God who does. And no modern governor or epidemiologist can cancel Christmas; none can succeed where Herod failed.
This must not only be the first Christmas when New Yorkers suffered under irrationally imposed deprivations — it must also be the last. And in that sense, this Christmas, this New Year, this time of pause and reflection is more important than any has been for generations. The arrival of God incarnate in that modest barn in Bethlehem isn’t about presents or feasts, bright trees with toy trains scrambling beneath; we all know that. So what is Christmas about? It is about freedom.
God’s grace can’t be erased by worldly hands covetous of power. Our freedom is inside of us, even when we lose sight of it. So on this joyous day of Christ’s birth, let’s remember the wonderful freedom he gives to all of us, the most precious and permanent present any of us will ever receive.
Revel in the twinkle of a child’s smile, drink deep from the cup of cheer, taste of the meats and delicacies of a thousand traditions, pray in gratitude to the depth of God’s love. And in all of it, every smell and smile, every sound and solace, remember that our right to live as free people does not stem from Albany or Washington, but from the kingdom of heaven.
Merry Christmas, Gotham, and here is to a happy, and free, 2021.
David Marcus is The Federalist’s New York correspondent. Twitter: @BlueBoxDave
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