Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Xmas Info

Cromwellian apologists, like the Cromwell Association, argue that there is no evidence to support the myth that Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas ... The Cromwell Association explains that it was "the broader Godly or parliamentary party, working through and within the elected parliament, which in the 1640s clamped down on the celebration of Christmas and other saints’ and holy days."

OK but where is this legislation? Nigel Jamieson, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Otago, New Zealand, has found it and his delightful tale of the research that went into locating the Ordinance 360 years after the fact... The Ordinance, bearing the date of 4 January 1645 and resolved upon before both Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, provides in its 'Appendix touching Dayes and Places for Publique Worship':

There is no Day commanded in Scripture to be kept holy under the Gospel, but the Lord's Day, which is the Christian Sabbath. Festival dayes, vulgarly called Holy dayes, having no Warrant in the Word of God, are not to be continued.

Jamieson explains that the application of this general prohibition against feast-days to the specific celebration of Christmas is clear from an earlier Ordinance, dated 19 December 1644, 'for the better observation of the monethly Fast; and more especially the next Wednesday, commonly called The Feast of the Nativity of Christ, Thorowout the Kingdome (sic) of England and Wales'.

..And that this day in particular is to be kept with the more solemne humiliation, because it may call to remembrance our sinnes, and the sinnes of our forefathers, who have turned this Feast, pretending the memory of Christ into an extreme forgetfulnessse of him, by giving liberty to carnall and sensuall delights, being contrary to the life which Christ himselfe led here upon earth ...

This public service announcement was brought to you by The Law Librarian blog for the benefit of Xmas rapturists like Becky Lauro.


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