Tuesday

"Xmas"! Need I Say (or write) More?

"Xmas"  Need I say (or write) more?

I didn't think so. Most of us do one of two things when we see or hear “X-Mas” (or “Happy Holidays” for that matter). We either roll our eyes as we know the comments that will inevitably come from the person who is “deeply offended” by the fact that someone “took Christ out of Christmas”.

For the record, I'm the one rolling my eyes. I think the offense people take to this is lunacy. There are bigger things to be concerned with. Besides, I think their offense is due to a misunderstanding.

Still, let's not even go there. For a minute, let's examine if anyone is REALLY taking Christ out of anything when they say or write “Xmas” or “Happy Holidays”.

I'll cut straight to the point. Christ wasn't born at Christmas. Christmas didn't start as a “Christian” holiday. It started as a PAGAN (i.e.: secular, or not related to Christ) holiday. Somewhere back in the glorious middle ages, the Catholic Church recognized the depth of this holiday & wanted to find a way to claim it as their own in hopes of drawing more people into the church. To do so, they decided that they would celebrate the birth of Christ during this pagan winter celebration.

Back in the day, the Catholic church had a way of taking over things if/when they wanted to. And thus, Christmas as we know it today was born. Well, not exactly as we know it today because today people spend unGodly amounts of money on presents and completely forget about the created reason for the season in the process.

Side note: Yes, I do believe it is UNGodly amounts of money. Seriously? How much did you give to feeding the hungry? Helping those less fortunate? Yet you're going to max out your credit cards for gifts? Why? Any rate...that's a horse for another blog.

When WAS Christ born? It has been theorized that he was born in the fall, around September or October. Although some say it was likely closer to spring or summer. Regardless, ALL are certain that according to the Biblical account of his birth and the events surrounding it, there is NO WAY he was born in the dead of winter. I'm not Presbyterian, but they do an excellent job of breaking down the details of when Christ was likely born.

For a minute lets put aside that you cannot take a person out of something of which they were never a part in the beginning. Let's say that because the Catholic church brought Christ into the holiday He is now a bonafide part of the holiday and as such shouldn't be removed from said holiday by crass use of “Xmas” or “Holiday” instead of the full “Christmas”. (By the way, celebrating Christmas was made ILLEGAL by the colonists because they felt it was an unholy, pagan celebration. But I digress.)

Still with me? If not, here's a review. We're now ignoring the FACT that Christ was NOT born at Christmas and are instead pretending that He was. Based on this premise, we have reason to be mean and unChrist-like in our response to people should they use the “unGodly” “Xmas” or “Holiday” instead of the MORE Godly “Christmas”.

We've already established that it is, in fact, NOT wrong to use “Holiday” instead of “Christmas” because that's exactly what the day started as...a “Holiday” that had nothing to do with Christ. Even if we say Christ is now a part of Christmas, most of us can concede that those who aren't Christians would prefer using “Holiday” over “Christmas”. Still, what CHRISTIAN wouldn't WANT to use the full “Christmas” instead of “X'ing” Christ out of Christmas by saying or writing “Xmas”?

But wait. Is it really unGodly to say or write “Xmas” instead of “Christmas”? Is it really “X'ing” Christ out of Christmas as so many proclaim?

The word for “Christ” in Greek is “Xristos”. During the 16th Century, “X” was used in place of the full “Xristos” as a form of short-hand. It was understood that the “X” stood for “Xristos” or “Christ”. People even referred to Christians as “Xians”. It was a commonly referred to abbreviation.

A quick online search will reveal to you how that abbreviation continued on through the years.

I would really encourage you to do a little research the next time you're tempted to attack another follower of Christ out of offense. I would encourage you to stop ANYTIME you're attempted to attack another and behave in a rude or unChrist-like manner even if you KNOW you're right. Even if you ARE right, there is NO justification for treating another human (Christian or not) in a rude or unChrist-like manner. As Christians, we are to be held to a higher standard. I am a FIRM believer for standing for what's right. I am ALSO a firm believer of doing so in a Christ-like manner.

On that note, Merry Christmas, Merry X-Mas, Happy Holidays, and Happy Festivus.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

....We've already established that it is, in fact, NOT wrong to use “Holiday” instead of “Christmas” because that's exactly what the day started as...a “Holiday” that had nothing to do with Christ...

So - what does the word Holiday mean? Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. Nothing personal. I just think you're oversimplifying the issue.

Crazy Mom Of The 3 Cubs said...

Bravo! The imaginary "War on Christmas" is a symptom of the classic "victim complex" that so many suffer from in today's age. Christians don't have the monopoly on periods of celebration, and no one is disparaging God simply by recognizing the MANY reasons to celebrate. Many religious and social festivals have been blended over time because people of ALL religions and life-paths like to get together and celebrate regardless of how or why each individual faces that celebration within their hearts. The idea that anything that doesn't come stamped with an image of Jesus is "anti-Christian" is like a bitter ex-wife complaining that her ex's happiness is simply an intentional ploy to make her miserable.(Riggghhhttt...) Why does “non-religious-joy” have to bring about such anxiety and defensive anger in the Christian population anyway? Why make it complicated when you can simply end the argument by choosing to make it a non-issue? Let the people who view Christmas as strictly a “Jesus-Celebration” contentedly celebrate it that way, and let the rest of the population celebrate the holidays they honor in their own way. Be happy for your OWN reasons to celebrate instead of obsessing with, or getting up-in-arms about the fact that others may do it differently or for different reasons.

Amy said...

Anonymous (whomever you may be): You may disagree with me. That's awesome! I love people who exercise their right to disagree. I mean that seriously. If you're someone I know personally, then you know that.

You'll have to help me here, though. How am I oversimplifying the issue? What should I have done?

The Gospel IS simple. I believe God intended it that way. Should we question our salvation because it was too simple?

Amy said...

Crazy (I know you'll not mind if I shorten your name to that): I do think the "war" is ludicrous.

Do I think we can't still celebrate Christ at Christmas? ABSOLUTELY not! I do think, however, that we shouldn't fight a war without at least doing a little research first.

Besides, don't we as Christians have bigger fish to fry?

Jennifer Bovee said...

I thought it was a great post...i actually just wrote a similar one myself about Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays. Thanks for sharing!

Hannah said...

I loved everything about your post, especially the part where you called people out (so to speak) who spend UNGodly amounts of money on useless gifts when there are people around the world starving, dying of lack of clean water, genocide. It just sickens me!

Have you heard of the Advent Conspiracy?

But yeah, everything you said, I agree with. It's like, finally somebody understands what I've been telling people for years!

Hannah said...

Also I hope you don't mind I linked to your blog from my blog @tumblr.

http://hannahbanena.tumblr.com/post/287636243/xmas-need-i-say-or-write-more

That's where its linked!

Anonymous said...

Sorry that I have to leave my comment in segments. Blogger will only let me have so many characters.

Part One

I couldn't disagree with all of you more. The pagan thing is not a legitimate argument because regardless of how Christmas began, (and there is still great argument over those facts that neither of us can prove) in AMERICA, Christmas is to most people, the time designated for us to openly celebrate the birth of Christ. I don't need any history lessons. I am educated and well-read, contrary to the implication made here that anyone who believes that the inclusion of the word Christmas is just ignorant and silly. I am neither of those things and I would appreciate it if in voicing your opinions, you would not feel the need to ridicule those who dare to disagree with your views. I know you're a nice lady. My stance is not personal and I would never suggest that you are ignorant or silly just because you disagree with me. We both have our convictions. Even the historians can't agree upon the origin of Christmas in America and we all know that Christ wasn't really born in December. It's merely the designated time that was chosen to celebrate. I don't feel that the origin really has anything at all to do with the issue at hand. I don't care how Christmas began. In my lifetime, in AMERICA, Christmas has always been defined as the season officially set aside for celebrating Christ's birth. Until the aclu got involved and told people they were victims (which they aren't) even atheists openly agreed that that was the American-defined reason for the holiday.

(To the person who said that folks like me who believe strongly in the idea that retailers should use the name Christmas in their campaigns, etc. I say, you MUST be kidding when you say that my demographic are the ones desperate to appear as victims. We are not the ones clogging up the courts demanding compensation for such grievous "offenses" as having to drive by a town square and catch a glimpse of a cross or a manger scene. Give me a break! And if we DID sue, no one would listen because the only people in this country that it is still o.k. to "offend" is the Christian demographic. I am offended when I walk into a store during Christmas and see that Jesus is being completely ignored. Why do my feelings not count? Why are my feelings less legitimate than yours? Newsflash: They aren't. I have rights too.)

Anonymous said...

Part 2

I do not believe that any court should step in and force retailers to include Christ in their advertising. What I DO believe is that if they don't choose to include mention of my Savior, then I have a right to choose not to spend my money supporting their business. It's really that simple. I don't stand outside of the stores questioning or harrassing people who believe differently than I do. I don't hire attorneys and try to force retailers to agree with me. I don't try to get entities to award money to me for my "suffering". I just go about my business and make my disappointment known quietly and respectfully via letters to the company heads. I never send angry messages and I never make my words personal. I merely tell them that I really like their stores and am disappointed to learn that they have chosen to leave mention of Jesus out of their business. I dont' tell them that they're less holy than me and I don't tell them that they're going to hell or anything ridiculous like that. I simply express genuine disappointment and tell them that I hope that someday in the future, they will re-evaluate their policies so that I can, in good conscience, shop with them again. I don't label them "crazy" for not believing as I do and so I don't appreciate when proponents of their side, label me as such. Since none of us are God, we each have to make decisions based on that which rings true for us.
For ME, it is very important that Jesus be included in all aspects of the December shopping experience because I believe that it IS His time to be celebrated. I believe that it is very wrong to actively seek to prophet from the birth of a Savior that you do not even believe in OR, in some case, don't feel obligated to mention publicly. to be continued

Anonymous said...

Part 3

It just seems like common sense to me that all retailers would agree to call this holiday Christmas, whether or not they believe as I do simply because that has always been the American name for our December traditions. I don't think you have to agree with anything biblical to agree that Christmas is the name of the season. In February, no retailer puts up signs that say "Happy Holidays". All of their advertising uses the word "Valentine" because that's what it is. Now, if I decide that I no longer believe in Valentine's Day or the saint that some believe to be attached to the holiday's origin, should I be able to sue to have the word removed from my sight so that I am no longer in danger of being "offended" when I see it? Of course not. That's ridiculous. If Valentine's Day "offends" me, then tough. I don't have a right to ruin the day for everyone else just because I don't like it and have a rogue organization like the ACLU willing to waste millions of dollars to fight for me to have my selfish way.

Most importantly, I think you are failing to see that this issue is not just a silly simple argument about the word Christmas. It's about the fact that the removing of all things Bible-related is a slipper slope. Removing Christ from our midst and taking away the rights of those who believe in Him is not something that is going to happen overnight. It's a slow fade. And it begins with seemingly insignificant moves such as removing the word Christmas from a storefront in December.

Anonymous said...

part 4

Those are MY convictions. You don't have to agree with them but I would appreciate it if you would not express YOURS in such a condescending manner so as to make it sound as though I am somehow less intelligent than you because I don't see things your way.

I don't "know" you, per se. But I know enough of you to know that you are a good, honest, decent, loving wife and mother. You are intelligent and like me, you have strong convictions. I do not at all resent the fact that you disagree with me. I resent the WAY in which you sometimes do it. There is almost always an air of "Am I the only one smart enough to get this?" to your rants and that turns me off, making me not want to thoughtfully listen to that which you have to say. I think you're better than that. I used to have a blog and I used to make that same exact mistake sometimes when I really felt outraged by an issue so I know how easy it is to slip into that vein. I am far from perfect. Once I recognized that pattern in my own writing, I took a step back and re-evaluated how I was attempting to communicate with others. Even when I'm right, I fail in my attempt to persuade those who oppose the minute I talk down to them. That's the lesson all bloggers have to learn, I think. to be continued

Anonymous said...

Part 5
When I first began this long-winded reply, I confess that I was angry and tempted to be really snide because apart from the grace of Jesus, I'm just as much a wretch as anyone else on this earth. But as I have worked my way through the struggle of attempting to express my feelings while trying hard to avoid falling into the pit and becoming that which I am criticizing, Jesus has softly reminded me that above all else, He wants us to love one another. So if anything I have said here came off more harshly than it should have or if I said anything that made it sound as though I am making this debate personal, you have my sincerest apologies. I feel just as strongly in my stance as you do in yours and so a debate of such hot button issues is a real challenge, even for us flawed believers who are at least trying to behave as the set apart beings that we are in Him.

I'm leaving my part of this debate right here. I welcome you (although you don't need me, a visitor, to grant you permission to speak on your own blog, lol) to respond as you wish. I promise to pray and then read it as thoughtfully as I can instead of throwing up my defenses and waiting to get to the end so I can argue back again. In fact, I'm not going to write another response at all because I think in this particular moment, in this particular format, nothing can be changed for the good by you and I fighting to the death to have our opinion declared the winner. Thank you for letting me have my say. If I ever jump back into the blogging process again, I promise to return the generosity and Christlike charity.

Anonymous said...

Wow.

Arguing over and X.

There's half an hour of our lives we'll never get back. We could have spent the time making sandwiches for the poor or doing something actually useful.

Ridiculous. Offended over the fact that the WORLD acts like the world and leaves Christ out? Really?

How about we let the world be who they are, quit being offended and get out and use that energy to reach the lost.

In the time it took me to write this response, people in my town died and went to hell.

Gary Thompson said...

I think it's indicative of our Western brand of watered down Christianity that the AMERICAN Church sees it's mission to "Preserve Christian Symbolism" in a holiday, rather than seeing it's mission as reaching those Christ sent us to reach.

We should be ashamed of ourselves. Our flabby "Have it my way" flesh gets falsely religiously indignant over something that the Spirit of compassion and obedient action would completely sidestep.

I agree that this argument is spiritually irrelevant and is merely a distraction to doing what God called us to do...win the lost. Paul said not to "Quibble over words..." Such things take away from our testimony to the world. They make us look completely asinine to the world.

They'd respond to our gospel if we walked it out by meeting the needs of the poor and "taking care of orphans and widows." This is the pure religion that Paul deemed acceptable by our Lord and Father.

Here's an argument worth having: Why has the government eclipsed the Church in giving to the poor and taking care of the needy. THAT is sin. And wasting your time telling a shop owner how offended you are over something like this shows you're missing the point of the Gospel altogether.

Condemnation? You betchya. Christ condemned the self entitled religious attitude of "you've offended me." The Church as a whole is lazy and needs to get saved and get out and deliver blankets instead of delivering a Spirit of offense to the world.

Amy said...

Anonymous, I wanted to let you know that I read your responses. We're loading our truck tomorrow & Saturday so I can't give your replies the thoughtful response I'd like to right now. We're actually scheduled to leave town on Christmas Eve so it may be that night (once we're at my SILs) before I can actually respond.

I have no doubt you understand. So I'll say "Thank you" in advance.

Amy

Judy said...

Amy,I can't believe you are losing readers because of(i don't want to say small)but a difference in opinion. So I subscribed today. For two reasons, really.
1. I have always meant to search for your blog, I heard about it via Twitter, ( I think we started following each other because of Gary)
2. We (Jenn and Judy Alward) are going to miss Gary on JQ soooo much. Especially the remotes.
God bless you guys in your move. and have a Merry Xmas..... Happy Holidays..... O good grief....Hope you have a blessed Christmas Season.

Amy said...

Hannah,

Thanks for your kind words. Thanks for linking to me. I don't mind a bit!

Amy

 
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