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Christmas – the holiness of flesh and blood
In 1644 Christmas was abolished. A Puritan Government decided that the traditional celebrations were irreligious and unhealthy and shouldn’t be allowed. So it’s not just nowadays that politicians make foolish and unpopular decisions – with subsequent U-turns!
No doubt many of our celebrations of Christmas are still irreligious and unhealthy, but this doesn’t amount to much of an argument to get rid of the feasting in our time. For many, the religious character of Christmas has effectively disappeared, whilst the freedom to be a bit unhealthy without too much guilt is one of the most attractive features of the holiday.
That said, the instinct to make merry is not one that comes naturally or easily in all circumstances. Ebola does not stop because we are feasting. Islamic State and its evil advance take no account of Christians’ (and others’) desire to celebrate. Jollity cannot be simply manufactured in homes where there is sickness, debt, abuse, breakdown of relationships and the like.