Category Archives: America

Looking Back to Colonial Times from December 1895: Puritans versus Christmas


American attitudes toward Christmas haven’t always been so positive. But what could possibly be wrong with Christmas? Well, for the Puritans, the problem was their enemies celebrated Christmas.

Wait — let me back up and be a bit more modest with my claim. Here’s just a snapshot of a perspective from a time that was not better or purer, but certainly earlier, before the television age, before the middle class was allegedly indoctrinated by left-wing professors in colleges. On Dec. 19, 1895, The Sequachee News of Sequachee, Tenn., published the following italicized section under the headline “Colonial Christmas:”

The Puritans were sorely tried by the way in which Christmas was observed in the colony in 1658, and at the first General Court subsequently held the following law was passed:

“For preventing disorders arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries, to the great dishonor of God and offence of others, it is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like either by forbearing of labor, feasting or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shillings as a fine to the country.”

The following from a letter from Amos Lawrence to his son, William K. Lawrence, then at school in France shows the beginning of the change of sentiment. Its date is December 27, 1830:

“I suppose Christmas is observed with great pomp in France. It is a day which our Puritan forefathers, in their separation from the Church of England, endeavored to blot out from these days of religious festivals; and this because it was observed with so much pomp by the Romish Church. In this, as well as in many other things, they were unreasonable as though they had said they would not eat bread as the Roman Catholics do. I trust and hope the time is not far distant when Christmas will be observed by the descendants of the Puritans with all suitable respect as the first and highest holiday of Christians, combining all the feelings and views of New England Thanksgiving with all the other feelings appropriate to it.”

I really like this line: “In this, as well as in many other things, they were unreasonable as though they had said they would not eat bread as the Roman Catholics do.”

I’m glad Amos Lawrence’s hopes turned out to be prophetic.

Unfortunately, Puritans were even worse in other areas. Other U.S. newspapers, before the television age, before the alleged indoctrination of the middle class by left-wing professors in colleges, published troubling articles about the American Puritans. Stunningly, they killed much, much more than the Christmas spirit.

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I’m Just Jealous of Your Success in The Lord


Call it a Throwback Thursday moment, because I still love this:

I’m jealous of C.J. Mahaney’s ability to cover up ugly things.

I’m jealous of Tim Keller’s reasoning skills.

I’m jealous of John Piper’s articulation of positions that implode even as he states them.

I’m jealous of Bill Gothard’s way with the ladies.

I’m jealous of Bob Jones University’s keen identification of the sources of problems.

I’m jealous of Mark Driscoll’s ambition.

I’m just jealous of your success in the Lord.

I think, however, I’ve learned from these men how to be successful in the Lord.

Be forceful, be confident, be uncompromising, be direct, be confrontational.

Be rhetorically slippery; be illogical.

Be anything that makes someone successful in today’s world of marketing and media, for the world of marketing and media is the Kingdom of Heaven.

And I’ve learned you can have a great social club by gathering around the teachings of famous contemporaries.

Just save the discernment for later, when the facts are so obvious no discernment is necessary, which is how discernment seems to work in American churches, especially the most conservative ones, which start by dispatching all knowledge gained by human inquiry because it might get in the way of discernment. (It makes sense because it doesn’t make sense.)

One thing you should do in response to this post: Accuse me of “sour grapes,” because, as Andy Crouch has taught us, diverting attention from facts to abstractions is an easy way to sound spiritually wise.