So, why was Christmas shunned in the United States?
Due to all the pagan “influence” in the Christmas origin, as we discussed in yesterday’s article, the Puritans banned the celebration of Christmas, stating that it was “a popish festival with no biblical justification, and a time of wasteful and immoral behavior.” They further stated it was a pagan and Catholic festival and thus had no business being celebrated by Christians.
Not only did the Puritans ban it, but Colonial Americans banned Christmas too. Then, the holiday was actually out of favor after the American Revolution because it was “an English CUSTOM” [capslock mine].
George Washington even attacked German mercenaries on December 26th, 1776, taking them by surprise because they celebrated Christmas and the Americans didn’t. Something that Americans would now decry as heinous.
Conclusion: Christmas is a mishmash celebration of a variety of religions, and is not the property of any one religion. It is the winter celebration, a time when people need to combat vitamin D deficiency with good cheer.
Christmas belongs to us all, whether we call it Yule, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Midwinter, or Guggalumitiggamas.
And here’s my take (and this is for all “sides”):
Stop arguing over what to call it. Just stop, it is as personal as any other decision.
If someone says “Happy Holidays,” receive it in the spirit it is given and say it back in the same spirit. If someone says “Merry Christmas,” do the same. “Joyous Season,” “Happy Hanukkah” etc., the same.
Stop being offended because someone wishes you well with words you don’t use yourself.
Stop saying that nativity scenes are offensive. Even if they are on public property, they are not the same as forcing religious beliefs on others. They can be legally displayed there, as long as no government money or sponsorship is involved. They’re decorative displays and pretty to look at.
Stop being offended if people want to call it a “Holiday Tree,” because that is what it is, and you can still call it a “Christmas Tree” if you want. Calling it a Holiday Tree is not suppressing your Christian religion, period.
I could go on listing examples, but I hope you get what I mean.
Stop being aggressive. Stop. Take a step back. Enjoy the season as it best suits you. Buy or make nice presents for your loved ones. Spend time with your family. Eat good food (diet pfft, think about that next year!), and most of all be happy!
(And be happy that other people are happy too!)
Personally, I’m incredibly fortunate when Christmas comes around because I’m a Dane living in Denmark, and here we still call it “Yule,” so nobody gets offended when we say “Joyous Yule.” I’m not religious – I prefer to say I’m “undecided” or “agnostic” – and as long as people don’t try to make me believe in their god, they’re very welcome to wish me a happy season with the words they choose. I hope that more Americans will adopt this view and tolerate those who don’t celebrate their holiday, or those who don’t celebrate at all.
Thank you for reading, and have a happy/merry whatever you want to call it (insert happy smiley here).
Here’s a little song to give some perspective:
Part Two: Early Christian Americans Banned Christmas
Featured image via christmas.gudangkado.com