"Merry X-Mas" and "Happy Holidays"- Jesus People Go Crazy!


228544_4935 Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when Jesus people go crazy. When Jesus people get mad at Wal-Mart cashiers and CVS Pharmacists because they tell them "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". When we judge the eternal future of friends and relatives by whether they write "Merry Christmas" or "Merry X-mas" on their Christmas cards. Like a facebook friend wrote on his status update the other day, "Keep Christ in Christmas? I say, let Him out." We get a little nutty this time of year don’t we? So let’s bring a little common sense and control to this whole "Happy Holidays" and "Merry X-mas" thing this year.

Happy Holidays- Apparently it’s the end of the Christian belief system if December 25th does not include Christ. I mean it is His birthday right? We all know He was actually born on that day right? Wrong. Most scholars believe He was born in the warmer months. Obviously know one knows the day but we are pretty sure it wasn’t December 25th. So why do we celebrate it on that day then? Excellent question. Basically, Christmas replaced a pagan celebration called Saturnalia.  Click the word to read more but here are the basics- Saturnalia was a hedonistic time where anything goes. Not unlike "What happens in Vegas" or Mardi Gras.  Actually, the early church only celebrated ONE holiday, Easter.  Later on when Rome had converted to Christianity Pope Julius I chose December 25th, possibly to overwrite a very sacred day to the Pagans, the birth of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun.  As-a-matter-of-fact, most of our current Christmas traditions didn’t begin until the 1800’s.  So why are we so intent on “Keeping Christ in Christmas”?  This brings up two questions I think we need to ponder (I love the word “ponder”, no idea why). 

The first is- Are we supposed to celebrate Jesus’ birthday?  Well, biblically I can’t really make a case for it.  Yes, Sheppard’s did come and worship Jesus.  And yes, a few years later the wise men showed up and gave him presents, but the fact remains, no where in the Bible are we commanded to throw Jesus a birthday party.  This doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate His birth, but shouldn’t we be doing that everyday? 

The second question is- Would Jesus want to be associated with the biggest time of greed and materialism of the year?  From what I have read about Jesus, I would say, no.  The ancient church turned Mithra’s birthday into Jesus’ birthday and the modern world has turned Jesus’ birthday into materialisms holiest day.  Which brings me to the core of this topic.

Isn’t it a bit silly to get all upset at someone for not saying “Merry Christmas”?  Do people really think they are “taking a stand” for Jesus by arguing with a store cashier about this?  Really?  An over-worked and under-paid Wal-mart employee.  Heck, I’m impressed if they say anything at all after having to deal with hundreds of jerks a day.  Actually, I can only think of maybe two times in the the past few years when a cashier said “Happy Holidays” and I responded with “Merry Christmas” and they didn’t say “Merry Christmas” back.  Maybe instead of getting mad at the employee, we should get upset at the employer.  Here’s my thought, if it bothers you that much, don’t support that business.  Put your money where your mouth is.  You can save a lot of money at the big box stores, but if you can’t stand it, don’t go.  Go spend twice as much at a smaller store where they say “Merry Christmas”.  No?  Not going that far?  Then with all due respect, shut up about it.  Do you really think you are showing the love of Jesus by browbeating a $7.00 and hour employee? 

It’s actually funny to me that we get upset with someone for saying Happy Holidays when Holidays is just short for Holy Days.  Holy day is, according to Webster’s Dictionary, a day set aside for special religious observance.  So we’re getting upset with people (even atheists) wishing us to enjoy the coming Holy Days. 

Merry X-mas-  Wikipedia says this about xmas- “In Greek, the letter Χ (chi), is the first letter of Christ, and it, or the similar Roman letter X, has been used as an abbreviation for Christ since the mid-16th century.[13] Hence, Xmas is often used as an abbreviation for Christmas.”  And just in case you don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia here is further proof, Oxford English Dictionary and Online Etymology Dictionary both say the same thing.  So for hundreds and hundreds of years it has been ok to shorten Christmas to x-mas and all of a sudden we are stealing Christ from Christmas.  We act as if John 13:35 says, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another and say Merry Christmas instead of Happy 1245945_49647078Holidays.”  Yeah, not so much.  What it says is,

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  John 11:35 NIV

Aren’t we supposed to bring people to Christ, not Christmas?  How about this?  Instead of getting angry every time someone says “Happy Holidays” we respond with, “Thanks, Happy Holy Days to you and have a Merry Christmas.”  Let’s show some love this year. 

Trust me, it’s better than having to say, Merry Mithraday!

 

It’s all about Him,

Shawn

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One Response

  1. I was just thinking about that, since I happen to work in retail. We are allowed to say “merry Christmas” where I work, so of course I say it to most every customer that I wait on, and I have not had one customer complain that I say it. I have had customers thank me for saying merry Christmas, and why not. Everyone knows it’s Christmas. It has been Christmas for years. We don’t hear songs about the other celebrations going on right now. So the point is, it is Christmas. We have Christmas music playing at work, and most songs, even the pop songs by today’s artists, mention Christmas. We buy Christmas gifts and put up Christmas trees and Christmas decorations. So whether someone celebrates it as the time of the birth of our Savior or not, it is still Christmas. Anyway, I feel like I’m rambling. I did intend to say that noone has complained about me saying Merry Christmas, but I have heard people (probably “Jesus people” as you put it) complain about people not saying Christmas, and I definitely agree that there is something wrong with that picture.

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