"Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.
For the customs of the people are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest, and a
craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails so
it will not totter."
When Oliver Cromwell established the Protectorate in
England in 1653, it was a much a religious revolution
as it was political. Cromwell and the victorious
Parliamentarians belonged to the protestant
religous sect known as the Puritans.
The Puritans were so named becuase of their
attempts to "purify" the Christian church by
adopting more basic forms of worship. And
among their chief targets was anything that
could be tied to the practices of the
Roman Catholic Church -- and, by extension
the Anglican, or Church of England.
Including the celebration of Christmas.
Driven by Puritan notions of religious purity,
in 1647 Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas.
Gone were such pagan ideas as Christmas Trees,
feasting, caroling, and decorations
(and, indeed, they were borrowed from Pagan winter celebrations) .
Nativity scenes were banned as the worship of idols.
Indeed, even the word Christmas was frowned upon as
taking the Lord's name in vain.