Happy (Calvinist) Christmas

Dec 25, 2017 by

by David Robertson, Christian Today:

If you are reading this on Christmas Day, Happy Christmas.

Now get off your computer or phone and go and do something less boring instead, like eating turkey, watching the Queens speech or washing those dishes.

Christmas is not universally celebrated. If you are a Jehovah’s Witness then today is just a normal Monday. If you are in a Christian school in India you were warned last week by extremist Hindu nationalists that you celebrate Christmas at your peril.

And there are a small number of Christians who will not be celebrating today as a matter of principle. Why? Because they don’t believe it is a Christian festival and they celebrate their freedom not to celebrate something that God does not require them to.

There was a time when Christmas was either banned or hardly celebrated in Scotland. It was the Scottish Reformers who banned it as a Popish festival in 1560. Although the ban was lifted it was not until 1958 that it actually became a public holiday. But it wasn’t just the Scots. In 1644 Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans banned it in England as well, ordering that its ‘carnal and sensual delights’ (I think they meant Brussels sprouts) be stopped.

This ban, by the way, led to the development of a character now considered essential to the days celebrations. A satirical pamphlet was published in 1652 which showed Christmas as an old man with a long beard. In 1658 another satirical pamphlet gave the old man a name – Father Christmas!

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