Cotton Mather, than whom none with more zeal adored the Deity, and divine commands obeyed, was on his way to the meetinghouse when he inadvertently stepped in a temporal vortex, from whence he found himself transported to Bethlehem.
Momentarily disoriented by his precipitous journey, when a joyful band of shepherds hastened by, he accosted one of them to inquire as to where they were headed.
“To a manger in the city of David, to celebrate Messiah’s birth!”
The goodly parson stood aghast at this contagion of popery, and proceeded to catechize the errant shepherds on the Regulative Principle.
After successfully dissuading the shepherds from going to the manger, Mather beheld a shining choir of angels on the hillside, praising God in the highest. At that the goodly parson strode over to the angelic host and sternly remonstrated Gabriel for co-opting a heathenish holiday: “O alienate from God, O spirit accursed. Forsaken of all good; I see thy fall Determined, and thy hapless crew involved in this perfidious laud!”
Then the angels, duly admonished, went silent and betook a somber retreat to heaven.