Monday, December 22, 2014

John Calvin kept Christmas.

English Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians have not always endeared themselves to others by their antipathy towards Christmas, claiming it is consistent with their support for Calvin's reforms. There were zealots in Geneva too who abolished the four Christian feast days of Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Pentecost and Calvin got the blame. But he sets the record straight in a letter to Berchtold Haller the reformer at Berne.
'The abolition of the feast-days here has given grievous offence to some of your people, and it is likely enough that much unpleasant talk has been circulating among you. I am pretty certain, also, that I get the credit of being the author of the whole matter, both among the malevolent and the ignorant. But...I can solemnly testify that it was accomplished without my knowledge, and without my desire... Before I ever entered the city, there were no festivals but the Lord’s day... Since my recall, I have pursued the moderate course of keeping Christ’s birth-day as you are wont to do.
'Selected Works of John Calvin, Tracts and Letters', Vol. 5, pp. 299f.…

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