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.