Christmastime is here. It’s one of my most favorite times of year. I love the music, the festive decor, the sweet treats, and the spirit of love in giving gifts and spending time with others. But you know what I love more? I love that Jesus is the true reason for the season.
Everything we do at Christmastime should be rooted in Christ Himself. But when I look around, I often wonder how we’ve become a culture so obsessed with being “non-offensive” that we’d surrender the true meaning of a holiday (aka “holy day”) to something that it’s really not.
And, interestingly, the things we’ve surrendered to culture actually have roots in what the Christmas holiday is all about. Let’s take a deeper look.
I always chuckle to myself when people (especially Christ-followers) get themselves all in a tizzy when anyone says “Xmas” instead of Christmas, as if it’s taking “Christ” out of Christmas. I chuckle even more when a non-Christ-follower uses the word “Xmas,” purposely intending to remove “Christ” from Christmas. But…did you know…the letter “X” is a symbol for Christ, from the Greek letter “chi”? It’s true. The origin of saying “Xmas” has even been traced back to the 1500s.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS & SEASON’S GREETINGS
Yes, I prefer saying “Merry Christmas” during the month of December. But let’s not discount “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” as generic or non-offensive phrases to take emphasis away from Christ. The use of “Happy Holidays” dates back to the 1800s. Its purpose was (and should still be) for people to encourage one another to enjoy the season of celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year (with Christmas at the influential center). Similarly, the phrase “Season’s Greetings” has been attributed back to the early 19th century. It was a popular Victorian Christmas card phrase that’s still used today to encourage people to enjoy the season of Christmas.
The Santa Claus our culture so loves today (wait for it…) actually has some roots in Christianity. Saint Nicholas was a 4th century Greek Christian bishop from the region now known as Turkey. He was well-known for his generous gifts to the poor. He devoted his life to Christianity and was mostly depicted as having a beard and ornate canonical robes. Santa Claus is believed to have origin back to Saint Nicholas, however, many other pagan religions and cultures of the world have influenced other versions of the well-loved character.
As believers in Christ, let’s of course celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with Christ as the focus and centerpiece. But let’s not get involved in silly battles with retail chains and marketers who “think” they’re being non-offensive to those who don’t believe in Christ. Instead, let’s help educate one another on why these lovely traditions came to be. And…just worship Jesus. Celebrate His birth…and His whole life, for that matter.
O come, let us adore Him!