Merry X-mas and Happy Holidays

16 12 2007

It was quite clear that the young boy had every intention of darting through the doors and out into the cold to play in the snow.  His grandmother, a woman whose intelligence and judgement I hold in high regard, shouted out to the boy, “Zip up your coat so you don’t catch a cold!”

Even in this day where vast volumes of knowledge are available to most people in this country, we still hold our our urban legends and mis-teachings.  You simply cannot catch a cold by being cold.  You must come in contact with a virus.  You can’t even catch a cold by going out with wet hair in the winter time. 

Among Christians, we have our cherished tales despite information to the contrary to prove them wrong.  No, Madelyn Murray O’Hare and the FCC are not conspiring to get any mention of God off the American airwaves.  O’Hare is dead anyway, so that would indeed be quite a fete.  No, the little girl won’t get a free day on the kidney machine if you save enough soft-drink can pop-tops.  No, the candy cane was not invented with any specific Christian thoughts in mind.  No, the 12 Days of Christmas is not necessarily a tale of Christian celebration.  And no, it is not anti-Christ to write “Merry X-mas” or to wish someone “happy holidays”.

The letter “X” is actually a version of a cross.  Early Christians used an x, along with the fish symbol, to represent Christ.  In fact, if you want to get technical, most Christian churches have big x’s at the front of their church in the form of a cross.  So, replacing “Christ” in Christmas is more a form of laziness than blasphemy.  Take heart…  if anyone truly is trying to x out Christ, they’re merely replacing the name with the ancient Christian symbol for Christ…  the humble x.

And what about those scurrilous ne’r-do-wells that have replaced “Merry Christmas” with “happy holidays”.  Take a deep breath…  there’s no need to get up in arms…  it’s OK.  The word “holiday” means, in part, “holy day.”  Wishing a happy holiday is tantamount to wishing a blessed holy day.  A simple quick peak into that dusty Miriam Webster on your shelf will prove out that point. 

Wouldn’t be easy if being a Christ-follower were nothing more than following the proper semantics and carefully guarding our verbiage?  It seems quite spiritual and holy to spend our breath railing against those who want to destroy the Christ message of Christmas.  It’s too bad that most of us Christians have already done a pretty good job of that ourselves.  You can say “Merry Christmas” all you want, but if you are not living a life of love, justice, mercy and charity, you simply are not doing the most basic things Christ taught us to do.  We spend so much time talking about “religion” that we lose sight of Christ in the fog.  When we aren’t living lives clearly given over to following the Messiah, when we publicly display evidence that our religious-speak does not affect our walk, when we live spiritually mal-formed lives avoiding the basics of faith, then we are already x-ing Christ out of Christmas.

Praise be to our Lord and Father who not only gives us reason to live…  but also gives the Holy Spirit so that we truly may stand firm and live in obedience AND joy.

So, merry X-mas.  And happy holidays.  I have to go out and shovel snow now…  sure hope I don’t catch a cold.

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2 responses

17 12 2007
ronsworld

Great post and great blog-keep it up! God bless and Happy Holy Days!

17 12 2007
gregfish

Thanks for the encouraging words – I truly appreciate it.

Greg

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