Christmas - Jer...this reminds me of Gillespie on obedience to Conscience even if ill-informed
- Testimony of the English Puritans
Among those who were influenced by the work of the Westminster Assembly were the English Puritans, who later became among the first settlers in America. These people were staunch Calvinists. They ordered their whole lives in self-conscious obedience to the Scriptures, making every effort to live consistently with their convictions. They were not always successful, as none of us are, but they were more consistent than most in many areas. A study of the history of early America reveals to us that Christmas had no place among the Puritans. To the pilgrim settlers December 25th was just another day. Consider the following extract from the reflections of William Bradford concerning a mild conflict in 1621:
On the day called "Christmas Day" the Governor called them out to work as was used. But the most part of this new company excused themselves and said that it went against their consciences to work on that day. So the Governor told them that if they made it a matter of conscience he would spare them till they were better informed. So he led away the rest and left them. But when they came home at noon from their work, they found them in the street at play openly, some pitching the bar and some at stool ball and such like sports. So he went to them and took away their implements and told them that was against his conscience, that they should play and others work. If they made the keeping of it a matter of devotion, let them keep to their houses. But there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets, since which time nothing has been attempted that way, at least openly.
The assumption of Bradford and the Governor and the rest of the Puritans was that those who clung to such celebrations would forsake them when they were "better informed." When the Governor saw that the man-ordained festival of these individuals was being used as an excuse to evade the God-ordained duty of productive labor for the sake of revelry, the God-ordained activity took prevalence.