The Catholic Defender: Roots Of The Anti-Christmas Agenda
“O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.” I love this song as one of my favorite Advent songs. It is great also to meditate before the Eucharist in Adoration.
The Son of God appeared physically on Christmas Day, December 25th, 2 B.C. as a little baby. The Son of God appears physically at each and every Mass, rejoice at Mass. The Son of God will appear a second and final time for all time bringing the fulfilled promise to liberate His people.
The tide against Christmas today is coming basically in opposition to the Catholic Church. And the opposition is coming from several different directions. Secularists and Atheists are coming from one direction while a number of fundamental Protestant groups continue their attacks of Christmas.
Because of the threat of political correctness and the Secularization of our Country, various businesses have voluntarily tried to reduce Christmas to a secular holiday. Bill O’Reily of Fox News, has done much to defend Christmas and as a result, businesses like Wal-Mart reversed their policy and allowed Christmas to be recognized and celebrated. This is why people should let local business know how you feel! I am told they do not want to offend people of other religions, but yet, they have no problem offending the sensibilities of 80% plus of the public who do love the season of Christmas. That makes no sense.
People many times are agenda driven, not truth driven, that is the obvious explanation. The war on Christmas can be traced back to the English Parliament under King Charles I in the 1640′s. At the time, the Puritan influence through the Presbyterian Church caused tensions leading to civil wars. Christmas was viewed as “Trappings of Popery and rags of the beast." The Catholic Church was seen as the “Whore of Babylon” and the Pope the “anti-Christ”.
In January 1645, the Directory of Public Worship called for the end of Christmas largely because of the Presbyterian church. The Parliament decreed, “Festivals days, vulgarly called holy Days, having no warrant in the Word of God, are not to be continued.”
Christmas 1647, a number of Ministers were arrested for preaching on Christmas Day. The Catholic Faith was persecuted beginning in 1534 until 1829, so these Ministers were mostly Anglican Clergy. By 1652 Parliament placed penalties on business that celebrated Christmas and by 1657, the Army was brought in to interrogate church goers suspected of celebrating Christmas.
Because of this influence taking place in the English Parliament, the Puritan influence was being felt in the New World as well. Christmas was illegal in New England during this time, the 17th century. This ban on Christmas would last until the 1850′s when immigrants from pro-Catholic Countries such as Ireland and Germany began to arrive by the millions. A Massachusetts law of 1659 punished offenders who celebrated Christmas with a fine of five shilling.
To the Puritans, Christmas was an invention of Rome, in that I agree, it was a practice of the early Church. But the Puritans began developing a new historical approach claiming that the Emperor Constantine originated Christmas embodying paganism through it’s practices and rituals. Elaborate versions began to appear as the hostility towards the Catholic Church intensified. Groups like the Seventh Day Adventist were formed (1863) through their anti-Catholic bias.
Because of the influx of Catholics, leading Universities such as Bob Jones University began printing out anti-Catholic tracks and this was basic standard academics in America at the time. The Puritan leaders in America rejected Christmas because they associated it with paganism and idolatry. Even today, small groups of Puritan like minded individuals still try to use these arguments.
In 1870, Christmas became a Federal holiday under President Ulysses S. Grant as the Puritan position began to decrease. Americans began to accept Christmas, both the spiritual as well as the commercial value.
Today, the majority of Christians have no problem with Christmas, most of them see Christmas as a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. That is Christmas. Christmas is a season to bring the message of peace. To recall the story of that first Christmas Day, the coming of Our Savior is to bring great joy.
Isaiah 9:6 states, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This good news was prophesied over 700 years before Jesus birth. That is the Christmas story.
To those who celebrate this Child’s birth, Isaiah would say, “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, says the Lord.”
When people wake up to the truth of the Catholic Faith, their eyes are opened to the truth. Then the joy of Christmas can penetrate the heart and mind bringing hope where before there was despair. I think this is a major reason why some of these groups refuse to accept Christmas being December 25, because this totally refutes their agenda of claiming the Church was pagan.
The attack on Christmas is definitely an attack on the Catholic Faith. The Secularists will not always be that open with it, but the various Protestant groups will not hide it, they double down on it.
The battle lines are drawn, there are those who seek to rob us of our faith and joy in the Lord. Be encouraged, St. Paul wrote, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with you, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:11
That is Christmas and so I want to wish everyone a Merry (Mary) Christmas and a happy New Year!