My family, the Puritans, would not have celebrated Christmas. Certainly not in the way that most people in the United States celebrate it now. Theirs was a world that was immersed in their faith, they had no reason for holidays, or special occasions. They worshipped God, and Jesus, with every breath they took, in every waking moment. Whether they shouted "Praise the Lord" with every fork-full of hay, I have no idea, but I imagined they did, if not out loud, then with every beat of their heart.
And they were very disappointed by the establishment of the United States of America. Theirs was world based on the Bible, the Word of God, the Judeo-Christian principles. But the country that was established had no official religion, it was not based on God. It was based on the rights of man, on Humanist principles. The Puritans would have resented such Godlessness, rejected other religions, other ways of thought. And ultimately even the world "Puritanical" came to mean someone who was unforgiving, and inflexible, in their beliefs.
The Puritans deeply believed that theirs was the only way for all people to live. They believed in the Word of God as the only way to guide them. For them it was unthinkable to just go to Church on Sunday, or to celebrate the life of Jesus only on December 25th.
And there are still a lot of people who believe that to this day. And they will always be in conflict with the established government of the United States, which has no official religion. Establishing a country with no foundation in Divinity was a radical idea for the 18th Century, and many times this experiment has nearly failed. 87 years into the life of the country it nearly failed in a Civil War. But the country held together. And while the Puritans failed, the government by the people, for the people, and of the people did not perished from the earth.
In the United States of America, each according to the dictates of his own conscience. The Puritans would have never allowed that.
|Freedom of Religion by Norman Rockwell.|