Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or (gasp) Xmas!

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)


Filed under Christmas Season, Family Traditions, My "take"

3 responses to “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or (gasp) Xmas!

  1. Lori

    I have been really enjoying this blog by Ann Voskamp this year. I printed out her jesse tree book and ornaments and have been doing advent with my children with them. I also really like this post. I’m biased a bit, maybe, since I live overseas and am a full-time “m” serving the unreached 🙂
    Another e-book I have really enjoyed this year is from this website:
    Living overseas really makes it easier – I don’t have to go to a huge number of parties, consume too much holiday food, none of the commercialism is here, etc. Only what we chose to focus on and celebrate with our own family, so we do our best in making it Jesus’ Birthday!

  2. Jason Edwards

    wouldn’t have seen this post coming from you, figured you would be one of the ones who put up a fuss over it… guess you never can tell, huh? it’s a much healthier point of view that you have, you can take the Christ out of Christmas but he still lives in your heart…

    we had the discussinon in college about it years ago in my ethics class, the HolyDay and X=Chi thus Xmas still = Christmas stuff, it got heated, some people are so fanatical about it… nice trip down memory lane, there…

    if it all starts with confessing your sins, i guess i have to admit that this is the first year in quite a while i’ve looked to Christ to any great extent whatsover during the Christmas season, been in a spiritual drought since before college, i came back from Haiti broken and never really got around to getting repaired, i tried for a while and just never could find my way back to where i once was…

    so why this year? gotta’ be honest, i’m hurting real bad right now… Dad has cancer, Grandma just had a stroke, hard finding work lately… i suffer from seasonal depression and i don’t like being sad so i turn it into anger and i don’t like being mad so i bottle it up and it just turns into anxiety… like a shook-up soda can, you can pick it up and feel it’s just about to explode and make a huge mess… i can’t drown the pain in alcohol anymore, not like that ever did any good anyway, i’m NOT a candidate for medication, and counting to ten didn’t work when i was young and only a little bit damaged… so there’s only one cure…

    so for the first time in over a decade, i look to Him for strength and peace and hope… i thank Him that i have a wife and a family and friends who have loved me through it all and will never stop, i thank Him that i’m not still living the lie of alcoholism… i thank Him that my father still has his chin up, that my grandmother’s stroke was a minor one, that there is still time to see them again because i could have lost them both, or anyone else that i love for that matter… i thank Him that even though i have turned away for so long and am only coming back to Him now because i need something from Him, that i CAN… and that’s how i’m keeping Christ at the center of my Christmas…

    maybe not as inspirational as some people would hope for, but we can’t all be Charlie Brown, if there was nobody around to minister to, you’d get awfully bored… 😉 Seasonings and Greetings! (lil’ kitchen joke there, if i didn’t laugh, i’d go crazy… well, craziER) God bless and keep you!

  3. WOW! Thanks for these explanations! I had NO idea! I feel soooo much better now! Becuase I HAVE wondered about all that “stuff” people post… on face book about Holiday and Xmas! And now WOW! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

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