“Xmas is offensive; keep CHRIST in Christmas!”
“The phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ is anti-religious.”
Do we really need to be offended by everything in society? Are Christians always victims and casualties of a culture war? Certainly there are some things to take offense in terms of moral and life – LIFE! – issues. But the spelling of a word that actually has greater spiritual and historical context than you realize should not be something you take offense. Xmas does not diminish Christ in Christmas or Jesus being the reason for the season, and calling days a holiday is not dishonoring to God. Let me explain…
The letter X we see through our modern English eyes as if the sun revolved around Americans in the 21st Century. The letter X actually stands for the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. “Christos” is the New Testament Greek word for Christ. The first letter of the Greek word Christos is chi, which when transliterated into our English alphabet is an X. That X has come through church history to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ.
X has a long and sacred history for Christianity. The idea of X as an abbreviation for the name of Christ was used in the early church not just as a shorthand but as a cover in persecution. A person could write one mark leaving the other person to cross the line with their mark to form the X, indicating their faith or support for Christianity. The X further came into use in our culture with no intent to show any disrespect for Jesus.
The church has used the symbol of the fish historically because it is an acronym. Fish in Greek (ichthus) involved the use of the first letters for the Greek alphabet: (Iota) Iessous (Chi) Christos (Theta) Theou (Upsilon) Uios (Sigma) Soter. So the early Christians would take the first letter of those words and put those letters together to spell the Greek word for fish, but greater implying the phrase: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” That’s how the symbol of the fish became the universal symbol of Christendom. There’s a long and sacred history of the using the letter X to symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect. Anyone protesting those fish car magnets?
When we say or write Xmas, we are aligning ourselves with hundreds of years of church history, and in some cases our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. So let’s celebrate the X in Christmas even more. Further, we strengthen our witness by taking offense over things that truly matter to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Christians do not have to be known as the people in perpetual outrage, but as the people of History which is His Story. So, let us not cease telling the story about the X in Christmas.
As for the other phrase, Happy Holidays is derived from the phrase “Happy Holy Days.” The Old English word “haligdæg” meant holy day, and was meant to recognize the day of Christ’s birth was just the beginning of multiple holy days. Some Christian traditions also celebrate additional days
- 4th Sunday before December 25 with Advent Season, celebrating the weeks of waiting and arrival of Christ into our world.
- December 28, Holy Innocents Day, recognizing the first martyrs for Christ of the male babies massacred by King Herod. This day is also very appropriate to recognize in light of all the issues surrounding the pro-life movement.
- December 31, Watch Night. Many Christians gather to thank God for His watchcare over them for the previous year, and pray for God’s protection and guidance in the year to come.
- January 1, the Feast of Circumcision of Christ. This day was the first time Christ’s blood was shed, and symbolic importance of approaching God by faith.
- January 6, twelve days after Christmas for the Feast of Epiphany, when the Magi finally reached Bethlehem to present their gifts to the newly born King.
Christians, let us not spread #fakenews about the Xmas Holidays. Let us not attack and be angry at the world. Darkness needs light not heat. The incarnation was meant to illumine the world of God’s truth, not hide it with our religious jargon.