Why did America BAN Christmas?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Dr. Bob, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    One Christmas day in America:
    ~Crowds of Americans rioting in the streets.
    ~Two opposing groups shout loudly, vying to have their messages heard and heeded.
    ~Confrontation ensues.
    ~Fistfights break out.
    ~Church windows are smashed.

    What are these rioters fighting about? Observing Christmas. One group favors celebrating Christmas, the other opposes all Christmas observances.

    This isn't an imaginary event, it is history. It happened in Boston on Christmas day in 1706.

    Christ Mass was only one of many special masses and feasts of the Roman Catholic Church celebrating key events in Jesus' life or the birthdays of saints. The three main Protestant movements that ultimately came to America had three different reactions to this situation.

    (1) Anglican. Although the Anglican Church developed a Protestant theology, it kept much of Catholic liturgy, including festivals celebrating aspects of Christ's life and the feast days of many saints. It gave special emphasis to the celebration of Christmas.


    (2) Lutheran. After Martin Luther nailed his "95 Theses" to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral in 1517, special liturgical observances began to be frowned upon. The Lutherans thought that the celebrations of saints' days were too much and so cancelled them. But they still emphasized observing events in Jesus' life, and so continued with joyous [non-religious] Christmas festivities.

    (3) Evangelicas/Calvinists, In Switzerland any Christian holy days not mentioned in Scripture were banned. That approach meant that the Sabbath was acceptable, but nothing else. Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and other celebrations were to be treated as normal days with nothing special about them. This position came to be quite influential in Great Britain, even though it never altered the position of the Anglican Church. John Knox brought Calvinism to Scotland as Presbyterianism where Christmas was banned in 1583, while the Puritans brought Calvinism into England. During the Civil War in 1647, Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan followers outlawed Christmas observance. It was brought back in 1660 at the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II.

    From England, BOTH sides brought their Christmas beliefs to America. The Puritans (later becoming Congregationalists) were joined by Presbyterians, Quakers, Methodists and Baptists on the anti-Christmas side, while the Anglicans dominated the pro-Christmas side, and were later joined by the Lutherans and the Dutch Reformed. In Boston, the Puritans outlawed Christmas in 1659, and reinforced the ban in 1689.

    What was the American objection to celebrating Christmas?

    (1) Theologically, it reflected the “pagan” character of Catholic worship. Christmas was not a biblical holiday and had not even become a Christian festival before the late 300s; it was a creation of the church, not of Christ.

    (2) Practically, the holiday was accompanied by extensive reveling. Celebrations were NOT worshipful, but involved feasting, game playing, heavy drinking, shooting, and gambling. For the over-indulgers, it brought out the worst of their excesses. Since the holiday celebrated the Savior's birth, such immoral behavior was seen as sacrilegious.

    Over time, however, Christmas observance began to be more accepted. Church-goers turned their attention to purifying the holiday of its excesses, rather than rejecting it altogether.
    ~By 1750, Christmas carols were being added to hymnals
    ~By 1800, Christmas was observed with an emphasis on family and children.
    ~By 1836, Alabama made Christmas Day a legal holiday (Oklahoma was the last state in 1907)
    ~By 1900, with the large influx of Roman Catholic Irish/Italian immigrants and shifting demographic, Christmas as a religious celebration - often largest attendance of the year - gained popularity

    [With our modern love-affair with Christmas, this seems foreign to our concept. Religion Editor P.V. Flesher at the University of Wyoming, whose editorials are the source of the above, is trying to help us understand history and evolution of our church's modern attitude]
     
  2. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Dr. Bob, that was quite interesting. :)
     
  3. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,169
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's what I've been trying to say. No celebration of Sol Invictus!!!!!
     
  4. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,130
    Likes Received:
    221

    Would you say Legalism?
     
  5. Bro. James

    Bro. James
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,647
    Likes Received:
    16
    Would it be O.K. to have a happy hannukah?

    How does one break with many generations of tradition and still maintain peace and tranquility in the family? Some of us have wreaths decorating our meeting house doors. Preaching against such will probably produce a pink slip.

    Preach the Word; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

    Keep your bags packed. You may get to go to Nineveh.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  6. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Actually, no. I'd say 300 years of slow eroding of the position of the reformation, slowly (or rapidly) drifting back toward Rome

    As I've said before, use of "Xmas" does not bother me since the "X" is a Chi, historic shorthand for Jesus. But Christ MASS is bothersome to even say.
     
  7. kyredneck

    kyredneck
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    Messages:
    10,566
    Likes Received:
    276
    Thanks. I had never realized that was what it meant before.
     
  8. preacher4truth

    preacher4truth
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    0
    John MacArthur Jr. had an excellent expose of the paganism that is rampant in the celebration of this today.

    I checked out the etymology of this word several years back, and it concludes what Bob says.
     
  9. tinytim

    tinytim
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/tim2.jpg>

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
    11,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jesus didn't condemn Hanukkah..
    John 10:22 NLT
    (22) It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah.


    Thanks Dr. Bob.. I enjoyed reading that.
     
  10. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    Thanks Dr. Bob. That was an interesting post.
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,957
    Likes Received:
    96
    Dr. Bob.....thank you! I learn something everytime you post.
     
  12. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wouldn't say legalism, Salty. I'd say it was more a harsh reaction to the years the RC held the people in bondage to itself. Those who refused to celebrate Christ-Mass were making a strong statement, not against the holiday, but against the theology of the RC. Christ-Mass was just a particular issue used to gain attention to the point: RC bad = Reformers/Protestants good.

    People in that culture and often in our own for that matter, saw things in black and white. No middle ground. Personally, I believe it was the RC's own fault for trying to control every aspect of a believer's life and not leaving such matters to the Holy Spirit. Then again, some of the Reformers tried the same thing "Christ-mas is a sin". See? Black and white with no middle ground.
     

Share This Page

Loading...