Sometimes I just get a little weary of all the “fuss” about terminology at Christmas time.
Egads! Boycott this store for using the term holiday instead of Christmas…but it’s time to go back to this store for switching their policy to use Christmas once again. Give the clerk an annoying look if they say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Making an emphatic statement on Facebook that your tree is NOT a holiday tree. And don’t even get me started on those who take great offense and wax eloquent at the word “Xmas”.
As if doing or saying these things somehow make us more spiritual or prove that we are keeping Christ at the center of the celebration when in reality the things many of us do (myself included) during this season…like shopping for presents, putting up trees, hanging tinsel, baking cookies or sipping holiday drinks at Starbucks have precious little to do with Christ.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not interested in downgrading the Christmas season, taking Christ out of Christmas or making it even more secular than it already has become. In fact I am just the opposite. I want to make my personal observation and family traditions during this season even more significant, more about Christ and more spiritual.
But let’s get to the bottom of all this terminology mish mash.
Christmas after all is really a shortened version of “Christ Mass”….with Mass being a term used for holy communion (the Lord’s supper). So we as Christians, who observe Christmas and perhaps on occasion have taken offense at the switch from Christmas to Holiday, have in reality ourselves already replaced “Christ Mass” with a more shall we say “watered down” version – Christmas.
Speaking of “Holiday” and of shortening or abbreviating words….
Did you know that the word “Holiday” is really the shortened version of “Holy Day”? In ancient times these days were given to workers so they could go to church and worship. With Christmas being one of the only days left on the calendar where nearly everyone gets the day off of work thus giving us all the opportunity to worship and attend services, it is actually a very appropriate word to use at Christmas…don’t ya think? A true Holy Day! (side note: since Christmas falls on Sunday this year everyone really can attend a worship service and yet how many believers will choose not to do so because it is inconvenient or cuts into the present opening or dinner plans…isn’t that ironic? Just sayin’)
Then there is the dreaded “Xmas” – A common misconception among Christians is that using an X is replacing Christ in Christmas. When in actuality the “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as “Christ”. So Xmas is really just another shortened version of Christ Mass just like Christmas. Having been very involved in Chi Alpha (XA – Christ First) campus ministries in college I have no problem seeing the X as it’s true meaning – Christ.
So now that we have that all settled let’s spend some time this month really making Jesus the center of our celebration instead of quibbling about terminology.
Merry Christ Mass!
Happy Holy Day!
And here’s to a blessed Xmas 2011!
I will be posting over the next several weeks ways we here in the Lambdin house are trying to truly keep Christ at the center of our Christmas. I would love to hear from you how you are keeping Christ first in your celebration. (Please share in the comment section so we can all benefit)