Merry Xmas Everyone... Yes, that's right, I said XMAS
by Curtis Wiggins
For all my dear Christian friends who have made an annaul tradition of getting bent this time of year about the use of the term "X-mas", please kindly consider the following:
1. X- (the greek letter Chi) has been used in English as an accepted abbreviation for Christ for over 500 years. Chi ("X" to us) is the first letter of "Christ" as spelled in the original Greek. Just for fun, go to Google translate or Babelfish, and try translating "Christ" into Greek. As a Christian, you should recognize the Chi-rho (Xp) symbol, one of the earliest and oldest symbols of Christianity. Yes, I know crosses and Jesus-fish are all the rage now, but back in the day the Chi-rho was THE symbol for followers of Christ. That the "X-" has lost acceptance as an abbreviation for Christ is a reflection of a modern educational system with no focus on classical language, much moreso than any real or imagined atheist conspiracy to replace Jesus with algebra.
2. December 25th is the birthday of a great many deities, however Jesus Christ was not originally one of them. That we celebrate his birth on december 25th is a somewhat arbitrary choice made by the early Roman church, as they established the calendar of new Christian holy days. They could have just as easily chosen May Day or Groundhog's Day. (Yes, really, Groundhog's Day.) While we don't actually know the date of His birth, we do know with some certainty that it is very unlikely it was in December. (Or May, or February, for that matter.) So the real question should be, not who's trying to take Christ out of Christmas, but rather who put Christ into Christmas in the first place. (Believe me, that's a much more interesting question.)
3. Almost all of the traditions of Chrismas are older than Christ. There were decorated trees, and gift-giving, and decorations, and parties, and holly, and mistletoe, and yule logs, and wreaths, and carolling, and probably eggnog, all long before Jesus Christ was born. Putting Christ into Christmas really didn't change it all that much. Just the name really, and it gave us some new songs to sing. I suspect taking him out of it wouldn't really change it that much either. These old traditions, with or without their Christian overlay, are important - they are our connection with our past. If we don't know where they came from, if we don't understand our own traditions, they are no longer meaningful to us. They become nothing more than pointless, mindless ritual.
4. A significant number of Christans to this day do not celebrate Christmas. Certainly no Christians prior to the Roman Emperor Constantine celebrated Christ's birthday, on December 25th or any other day. The pilgrims who came here, nearly died, and in the process invented Thanksgiving, did not celebrate Christmas. Today our modern view of the Christmas tradition is more shaped by Dickens and Coca-Cola than by anything from the Bible. The New Testament tells a great deal about the activities of the early apostles, and the early (pre-Roman) churches they served, in the years and decades following the death of Christ. Missing from the scripture is any mention of any remembrance or celebration of the birth of Christ. From a dogmatic point of view, the birth, aside from being to a virgin, is nearly inconsequential. It is the death and ressurection of Christ that is the central tenant upon which Christainity is founded. (This is why a magic bunny hides eggs for the kiddies on Easter.)
5. Two out of three people on the planet are not Christian. Nearly half of these non-Christians are Muslim, the other half are mostly Hindu or Buddhist. None of them care what you do with the "X" in Christmas. This great atheist conspiracy you are concerned about, well the number of atheists in the world is amazingly tiny, and most of them don't care about your "X" either. The ones that do care, they ONLY care in the context of where a government agency is involved in the establishment of religion. You need to understand this - Using government resources to establish religious belief is forbidden by the most holy of their sacred texts, which they call the First Admendment. Aside from that, what you do as a private citizen, or as a business, or as an organization, with respect to Christmas, honestly they don't give a f_ck. In any case, you will NEVER hear a true atheist saying "Merry Xmas". Their traditional greeting is "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings". NOW LISTEN CAREFULLY: Just because someone says "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" does NOT automatically mean they are an atheist. More than likely it means they are trying to be friendly and inclusive to the two thirds of people on the planet who are not Christians. Despite appearances to the contrary, being Christian does not prohibit one from being friendly and inclusive.
Now... For all my dear non-Christian friends out there, who have to put up with this nonsense every year: Sorry, and Happy Holidays!