Jesus vs. Santa rivalry is nothing new

A holiday detente: As Easter sprung from fertility celebrations befitting the rebirth of spring, so Christmas originated from offerings of the season’s greetings to the winter solstice. And while Christians might have taken over the party, they’ve had to retain the yule tree and other pagan party favors to ensure converts would still RSVP to the festivities. The struggle between Jesus and Santa is nothing new.

The First War on Christmas happened in Oliver Cromwell’s England when Christmas idolatry came to be forbidden by law. Popular merriment was deemed to have strayed too far from the Protestant message of the church, the Lord’s Day etc, so Lord Protector Cromwell reined things in, for a time, until the reformer’s dominance over the parliament and the influence of the Puritans waned.

I heard this story on NPR, half of it actually. They described Christmas having been made illegal for a period, but curiously didn’t mention which period, and who in England had done it.

Puritans you say? Might these have been the same Puritans who came to America’s shore? The same. Well, they shared forefathers (Our forefathers, if our WASP history books can be believed, emphasizing as they do our “Christian Nation” while minimizing Jefferson and the other 90% of our settlers). Thus religious intolerance, on the part of the Puritans, drove the rest of England to send them packing, post paid, to take their anti-everybody else’s Christmas to New England, where it was thought there were no revelers to be bothered.

The Puritans fled religious intolerance to THEIR intolerance basically. What BS to assert that English merry folk did not accord them freedom of religion. England wanted freedom FROM the Puritan’s brand of religion. For some reason our historians seem content to leave open the suggestion that the Puritan party-pooper recount being expelled from the party because of his “wild and crazy” ways!

Just as in Old England, the American puritanical pin heads every so often revive to prominence, usually in reaction to economic or social catastrophe, to prescribe austerity across the board, from no drinking to unhappy holidays. In their current incarnation they’re Fundies aghast at what’s become of their Christmas. The “true meaning” having become too commercial, too secular, not enough infant Christ worship, etc.

We’ve got a nation of party-poopers, wanting to repo the universal Xmas holiday and its international message of brotherhood: Peace on Earth, Goodwill To All Mankind. Puritans aren’t about being good, they’re the fine folk who who accepted the turkey, then thanked the Lord, not the heathens. Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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