For many seasons, more than I can remember, I have seen signs and heard ads for keeping Christ in Christmas. It seemed to become a measure of one’s sincerity, belief, or type of religion if you wrote Merry Xmas on your greeting cards instead of the traditional greeting.
Political pundits of a certain leaning were offended by the X, saying the evil leftist, Satanists, atheists, or naughty elves were trying to destroy the Christian religion by removing Christ from Christmas. There was an outcry of “The war on Christmas.”
To all of them I say “POPPYCOCK!” [I’ve always wanted to use that word somewhere].
X Doesn’t Always Equal the Unknown.
Among early Christians before Christmas was established as a holy day [holiday], there was tradition of “X” standing for Christ. X=chi the first letter of “Christos” in the Greek alphabet. Christos, meaning anointed, is the Greek word for Christ; therefore, X=Christ.
We could go into the history of Christmas and how the date is unsure but was set on the date of pagan festivals in order to “Christianize” those days, but that is a post for a different time. For now, I am concentrating on whether Xmas lessens or cheapens the true meaning of the day.
Words vs Deeds
Do words really matter so much as deeds? Are the folks who get their dander up over an X really keeping Christ-mas? Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings mean little when the expressions are not accompanied with a demonstration of that cheer and goodwill.
What About These Deeds?
A woman who lives alone in a big house opens it up to the street people in her small town. It’s a place to get warm, get a good meal, some fresh clothes and maybe a night’s sleep away from the cold of winter or the heat of summer.
A retired couple in a northern city who regularly visit inmates in the local jails and a nearby prison. Every inmate they deal with is sure to get a greeting card for any holiday or birthday, even Xmas.
Many people volunteer at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, nursing homes, taking a little comfort and cheer to lonely people to whom it means so much.
People open their hearts homes to children that for one reason or another are without parents or a home. Fostering children must be a hard job because many children have been abused or lost their families in tragic circumstances. A married couple in a small mid-western city took in five such children, all siblings. They later made it permanent by adopting all of the children, keeping them together as they grow up and are nurtured by that couple.
There are people who volunteer at animal shelters interacting with the animals there so that they don’t lose the sense of human contact and are ready when a “fur-ever” home becomes available. Some people open their homes to abandoned pets and foster them until they are ready for adoption.
I know some of the above people but for their privacy, I choose not to identify them by name. They do not bemoan how the name of the holiday is spelled. They are as likely to wish you a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” These are people who have the spirit of Christmas or Xmas every day.
Remember what Ebenezer Scrooge says toward the end of A Christmas Carol?
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”