Christmas after the Protestant Reformation

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  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 2, 2018 11:15 a.m.

    "In 1647, the English Parliament, dominated by Puritans, went beyond Calvin and altogether banned the festival."
    Puritanism under Cromwell was often quite tyrannical. When Christmas was officially banned in England for a time, laws were passed actually REQUIRING merchants to be open on Christmas day. These laws were primarily aimed at Catholic merchants. How’s that for giving Catholicism a thumb in the eye?

    Backtobasics mentions Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It played a big role in rekindling our consciousness. Dickens, in one of the greatest stories ever written, used this holiday held in the dead of cold winter and shortest days of the year to appeal to our better instincts to be our brother’s keeper, especially the poor, the hungry, and the downtrodden. Dickens was a powerful voice of social reform in 19th century England. His books inspired other writers of the era.

    Today, some religious elements lament the secularization of Christmas, not realizing the role Clement Moore and Santa Claus played in reviving a feast day that had been badly battered by the fallout stemming from the Protestant Reformation.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 2, 2018 8:52 a.m.

    The 19th century secularization of Christmas was a factor in bringing Protestantism around to letting down its once obsessive determination to suppress the holiday. In the United States, celebrations of Christmas were becoming so popular that the anti-Catholicism justification was no match for growing public enthusiasm for Christmas.

  • Backtobasics Provo, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 12:11 p.m.

    Let’s not forget the impact of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. My wife and I watch the movie with Alister Simm every Christmas Eve. This has been our tradition for 42 years. Each time it reminds us of the worth of every soul and man’s capacity to change/repent. When President Monson one year expressed his view that this was a Christmas revelation given to the world I felt like leaping to my feet because I had long held that same view. “God bless is - every one.”

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Dec. 26, 2017 3:35 p.m.

    Great article as usual Dr. Peterson! For me, Christmas is most effectively manifested by some (not all) of the Christmas music! Ever heard David Archuleta sing "Oh Holy Night'? Now, that's what Christmas really always has been and always will be about! The other stuff, not so much!

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 25, 2017 1:32 p.m.

    I really liked this article and found it interesting. By and large I really like the idea of a joyful celebration of the birth of Christ even if it is not mandated in scripture, even if it is not the actual day he was born. We celebrate other historical figures and historical events of less significance. Surely, even today, Christmas is one of the most popular holidays of the year. Christmas trees? I can take them or leave them but they are a handy object to bedeck with cheery Christmas lights and light-reflecting objects. Merry Christmas every one.