Did you know that Thomas Jefferson did not celebrate Christmas at the White House? Just imagine if Barak Obama restricted Christmas at the White House. I think he might be accused of ushering in a new era of secularism and debauchery.
The America of Jefferson’s time was significantly different from the America of our time. The most “fundamentalist” religious people, the Puritans, rejected Christmas. For a time, much of the celebration surrounding Christmas was illegal in the northeast. Southern states such as Virginia (Jefferson’s home) were much more Anglican in regard to religion. They reflected the religious moderation brought about by Queen Elizabeth and King James, while the northern states (especially Massachusetts) were dominated by Calvinist Puritanism. The Anglican influenced states embraced Christmas and celebrated it in a variety of ways. The Puritan states saw Christmas as offensive.
This is quite a contrast to today where the most fervently religious people often insist Christmas be recognized in every part of culture while the more secular minded insist that Christmas be avoided in public places.
This look at history shows us that expressions of our faith change as culture changes. The issue that Christians in one era fight to the death for, might become irrelevant in another time. The true fundamentals of our faith do not change, but the secondary issues that we put importance on certainly do change.
I am challenged to put my focus on the things that are truly important, and not to be too harsh with people who do not line up with my beliefs.