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Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Return of the Sun

I have heard a number of people ‘complain’ or make statements about how horrible it is that we are taking the Christ out of Christmas. It all started with saying Merry X-Mas. How dare we take the reason for the season out of our greetings! We would sit through sermons upon sermons on how heretical it was and how the end times were coming soon. We would hear about how we are at the verge of losing our blessing from God on this nation as we slowly head towards hell. How dare we take the Christ out of Christmas! It sounds horrible doesn’t it?

What most pastors won’t tell you (because they probably have no idea) is that by replacing Christ with X in X-mas isn’t heretical, nor is it forgetting Christ originally. Darryl explained this to me earlier today. Greek scholars would replace Christ with X all the time because of the Greek letter X (chi) is the first letter in the word Christ in the Greek language. It was an easier way of writing and remembering Christ’s name in their writings.

The new complaint this season which I’ve seen and heard at the churches I’ve gone to and seen on the internet is replacing the word Christmas all together with Happy Holidays. The pastors will freak out again because oh the nerve of our poor godless country. How can we forget the reason for the season? I was recently at a church where a large majority of the message was complaining about this desire to get rid of the word Christmas, and exclaiming that we need to keep it in our language because this is Christmas and its all about Christ. Are we afraid that those pagans are going to steal our day? Or that our country is going to steal away our celebrations?

What most pastors won’t tell you is that Christians, nor Christ, started Christmas. Christians actually stole it from the pagans. Instead of awkwardly trying to explain it myself, I’ll quote Michael Parrish in an article he wrote for 850 Words of Relevant about where Christmas came from:

Before Christ was born, the ancient Romans had more holidays than any other culture in history. They were wild partiers who took every opportunity they could to drink, carouse and fornicate. In many ways, their religion was constructed around these opportunities to act like the gods they worshipped. One holiday was the winter solstice festival, appropriately named Saturnalia after Saturn, the god of farming. This celebration lasted from the Dec. 17 to Dec. 23 and was filled with decorating and partying. They even had evergreens that they would chop down and put up to celebrate the life of trees in the harshness of winter. This holiday eventually devolved into debauchery-so much so that the word saturnalia came to mean “orgy.” Early Christians coincided Christmas with Saturnalia to avoid religious persecution.

So after all is said and done. We stole Christmas anyway. I think I heard that Christ would have been born more around April if anything. So why are we all up and arms about a date, and the semantics of keeping our titles and labels that we throw on them, especially because they were never ours to begin with. I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t care what you call it. I know Christ was born, I don’t care what day it was or what day you celebrate it on, or if you even call it Christmas at all. I hope my life is a living continuous celebration of the birth (and death and resurrection) or Christ and that it isn’t or will never be limited to one day.

4 Comments

  • I think the reason Christians dislike the de-Christianizing of Christmas is that, linguistically and symbolically, it is a sign of the decline of Christian influence in Western culture. Christians want the culture to stay Christian, and the removal (and outright prohibition in some circumstances) language referencing Christ is one more example of how it is not.

    I think the Church did a brilliant and righteous thing in stealing Christmas from the pagans. Every day belongs to Christ anyway, and why not use our imagination to subvert pagan symbols and holidays (/excuses for degrading and destroying themselves). I say Merry Christmas, and I don’t like it when people don’t, but no more than I don’t like that everyone does not worship Christ.

    But also, the fact that Western culture is less than Christian is not news, and we shouldn’t be that suprised that people don’t care about Christ or days that comemorate Him anymore. We may have reason to be sad, but shock is probably not reasonable.

  • I think it’s funny that people get all flustered about semantics during Christmas. Anyway you look at it, if you’re giving gifts, singing carols, and having sleigh rides and eating big meals, you’re celebrating Christmas. What I think everyone should do is, be an ass to everyone that doesn’t tell you to have a Merry Christmas.

    OR you can just leave your Christmas tree up all year like my friend Rachel. She stole the idea from me. At first she left it up out of laziness, but then it became a source of ambient light at parties. It was wicked. During halloween, she even turned it into a harvest tree by putting up organge and yellow leaves (ON AN EVER GREEN!)

    What I’m gonna do is put up my kids’ report cards, art work from school, macaroni pictures, and maybe even bills and notices. We might even decorate the house in the spring time with balloons and those paper streamers. Hell, if we get to put up balloons on our birthdays, we better damn well put up some for Jesus’.

    Yay God.

  • actually, we stole nothing….christ himself ordered us to observe only 1 thing, communion. not christmas nor easter. those should be daily.but it serves us right that the heathens are dissing the “real meaning of christmas” we really have no business entering into such a silly holiday anyway.

  • Wow, you’re right chunky mom. It never occured to me that we’re not commanded to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, which causes me to think that if people are approaching this season with such an attitude, they’re missing the whole point. We’re not celebrating a momentous occasion for the sake of following old traditions, but rather taking the time to remember the world’s Saviour’s birth. I love Him and am SO thankful he came to rescue my sorry ass. Although the beginnings of “Christmas” is totally embarassing, I love what it has become, reminds us, and allows us all to do freely; Reflect on our Father’s great love, celebrate Christ’s glory, and show love to our friends and family, even though it may be only once a year for some.

    Peace to y’all

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