Saturday, December 08, 2012

Putting the X back in Christmas - redux

Dusting off and updating an old post.  

To many Christian complainers these days, "holiday" is a four-letter word. They want "Christ" to be in everything related to the month of December. They want all merchants to stop using secular or generic terms in advertising and to play only music that mentions Christ somewhere in the lyrics.

The more they protest, the sillier they become. People celebrate Christmas all kinds of ways and not all of it is geared to the spiritual--and I'm talking about good practicing Christians here. For example, why don't they object to Santa Claus? Talk about taking the Christ out of Christmas!

I'm always fascinated at the ones who abhor the use of X in Xmas, thinking it's a slur. For over a 1000 years, X has been used to mean Christ in religious words and symbol. Wikipedia:
The word "Christ" and its compounds, including "Christmas", have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern "Xmas" was commonly used. "Christ" was often written as "XP" or "Xt"; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as AD 1021. This X and P arose as the uppercase forms of the Greek letters χ and ρ), used in ancient abbreviations for Χριστος (Greek for "Christ"), and are still widely seen in many Eastern Orthodox icons depicting Jesus Christ. The labarum, an amalgamation of the two Greek letters rendered as ☧, is a symbol often used to represent Christ in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian Churches. Nevertheless, some believe that the term is part of an effort to "take Christ out of Christmas" or to literally "cross out Christ"; it is seen as evidence of the secularization of Christmas, as a symptom of the commercialization of the holiday.
And that last sentence, there's the dichotomy. On the one hand, Christians bemoan the commercialization of Christmas saying businesses make it all about money and profit and forgetting the spiritual nature of the season. But then those same complainers literally promote more commercialization by insisting that businesses use the word "Christ" in every reference to anything remotely related to the holiday. Make up your minds, guys. The poor merchants are just engaging in good old American capitalism and trying to make a buck. They'll do whatever it takes to get you to spend your money, just please try to be consistent in what you ask for.

For decades we have referred to the time from Thanksgiving to New Year's as "the holidays". Indeed, quite a number of celebratory days fall into that time. Nobody ever meant anything sinister by wishing you a happy holiday. Those who say otherwise need to chill. Feel free to say Merry Christmas and decorate your Christmas tree. But if you're nose is out of joint over hearing Happy Holidays, you need help, brother!

Happy Xmas!

1 comment:

Ien in the Kootenays said...

Dogmatic believers of all kinds need what my son calls "de-sensitivity training." Christmas/Yule/Saturnalia is older than Christianity and will survive it as long as the Earth maintains its present configuration and tilt. We also have the reverse phenomenon of non-Christians freaking out over the sight of a plastic baby Jesus in a mall. SIGH. Lighten up folks, we have an ailing overpopulated planet on our hands.