LAT: The profane origins of ‘Merry Christmas’

I wonder why the news media and the entertainment industry revel in trashing the sacredness of Christmas. Why are there incentives among our elites to trash the public observance of Christianity? A nation that does not have a sacred zone is in big trouble.

Los Angeles Times Op/Ed:

For most of its history, the Christian church regarded Christmas as a small event on its calendar not requiring much observation. Puritans in England and later the American colonies went one step further, banning the holiday altogether since they could find no biblical support for celebrating the day. As the historian Stephen Nissenbaum has explained, the Puritans imposed fines on anyone caught celebrating and designated Christmas as a working day. These strict rules were necessary since so many men and women engaged in the drunken carousing that accompanied winter solstice festivities, an ancient tradition that the church had failed to stamp out when it appropriated Dec. 25 as a Christian holiday.

In this setting, “Merry Christmas” was born. The greeting was an act of revelry and religious rebellion, something the uncouth masses shouted as they traveled in drunken mobs. Troubled by such behavior, the New Haven Gazette in 1786 decried the “common salutation” of “Merry Christmas.” “So merry at Christmas are some,” the paper lamented, “they destroy their health by disease, and by trouble their joy.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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