Every year, we hear about the “War on Christmas”; how different groups of people try to ruin the holiday by pointing out its pagan roots, putting up billboards, using Xmas, etc.
Why is everything listed in terms of violence with these folks? Has there ever been a real war on Christmas?
Surprisingly, yes, there has, and it was started by Christians.
Christmas, like almost all of the trappings of the Christian Church, was added in the 4th century. Hard line Protestant reformers in the Reformation rejected Christmas, along with Easter and most other elements of the church, as unchristian and of pagan origin. They railed against gift giving and having fun.
In the Puritan communities and colonies, Christmas was banned. Cotton Mather (co-inventor of the Rapture idea) wrote against it, using the same pagan origin issues listed today. Governor Bradford punished all those who celebrated it.
In England, when parliament won the civil wars and the Puritan Fundamentalists took over, they banned all church holidays and outlawed fun. When Charles II came to power, people were sick of the Puritans and he brought Christmas back.
Hard-liners in America and England still held out, using laws and peer pressure to ruin Christmas for everyone.
Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” brought out a yearning to enjoy the season again, and even in America, after the civil war, people wanted fun again. Christmas became a federal holiday in 1870, and people had federal law to oppose the remnants of Puritanism in America.
So, next time you see the news bemoaning the “War on Christmas”, just say yes. The War on Christmas was real, and was waged by fellow Christians.