Florence Congregational Church
Thursday, February 20, 2020
A Place to Connect

Pastor’s Corner  December 2014


There is a part of me that really enjoys tradition in its historical roots.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are two such traditions that spark the memories and stories of grand celebrations. 

I am also mindful that we, as an American twenty-first society, have really altered the original sense of these holidays from simple, very meaningful celebrations to, often, very chaotic materialistic festivities.


Reflect back to our founding fathers and mothers of Plymouth colony in 1620 and you will sense a totally different Christmas Day.  Governor Bradford writes:


December 25, 1620.  On the day called Christmas-day, the Gov’r called them out to work (as was usual), but the most of this new company excused themselves, and said it was against their consciences to work on the day.  So the Gov’r told them that if they made it a matter of conscience, he would spare them until they were better informed.  So he led away the rest, and left them: but when they came home at noon from their work, he found them in the street at play, openly; some pitching ball, and some at stoole ball, and such like sports.  So he went to them and took away their implements, and told them it was against his conscience that they should play and others work.  If they made the keeping of it a matter of devotion, let them keep their houses, but there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets.  Since which time nothing hath been attempted that was, at least, openly.


This year as you celebrate Advent and Christmas be mindful of how culture has indeed changed over the centuries.  And if you find yourself saying, “If only Christmas was what it used to be”, be mindful of “what” it used to be in the days of our founders. 


Perhaps, as with many things the pendulum’s swung too far away from the origins of our celebrations and traditions.  Perhaps?  I myself find the changing times, traditions and customs rather intriguing, informative and enriching.  Maybe the traditions of other ethnicities and religious traditions not “the way we’ve always done them,” but new ideas, creativity and passions open us up to the wonder and awe of God.


Reading the weekend Gazette of November 22-23, 2014, I was stirred by the thoughts of Rev. Todd Weir, pastor of First Churches in Northampton:


Staff writer, Chad Cain reports, “Sometime soon, Rev Todd Weir envisions an Ecuadoran cultural festival in downtown Northampton where members of that community can freely showcase their vibrant culture without fear of deportation.”   These words come only a few days after President Barack Obama’s Thursday announcement that he will use his executive authority to halt deportation.  “It’s a good start toward protecting dozens of families in Northampton and surrounding communities,” says Pastor Weir. 


Traditions, cultural expression, freedom…. It’s what we are about.  Our forbearers strove to begin a new colony where all would be free to worship God.  We of the Florence Congregational Church worship the God who sent his Son into the world to bring hope, love, joy and peace to all humankind.  We claim to bear witness to this light as Christ’ ambassadors.  Yes, to celebrate and remember this act of love, and to strive to love as Christ loved…. This is what we celebrate; this is our tradition.  May we Christians of the twenty-first century be equally loving in our respect of other traditions within our midst.  Share the hope, peace, joy, love and light of Christ with the world.  We have an amazing story to proclaim… the Good News of Jesus Christ.  May we be ever vigilant.


                                                                                                                       Merry Christmas,



Florence Congregational Church • 130 Pine Street, Florence, Massachusetts 01062 • 413.584.1325


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