Do You Need To Be Concerned About Keeping Christ in Christmas?

red happy holiday Christmas bauble

As we embrace the Christmas season, a time for joy and family gatherings, it’s important to address a recurring topic in some Christian circles. The usage of terms like “Happy Holidays” and “Xmas” often sparks debate and leads to angry rhetoric about a perceived “War on Christmas.”

But before you get up in arms over what talking heads are telling you, we need to delve into the historical origins of these terms and refocus our energy on keeping Christ in “Christian,” as well as showing reverence for the celebration of His birth.

The Historical Roots of ‘Holiday’

The term ‘holiday’ is more than a casual phrase for a festive break; it has deep historical and religious significance. It originates from the Old English words “hāligdæg,” which translates to “holy day.” Initially, these ‘holy days’ were specific times designated for religious observances and spiritual reflection in Christian traditions.

When people say “Happy Holidays,” they’re indirectly referring to this age-old tradition of celebrating sacred days. It’s a phrase that, in its essence, honors our religious heritage, acknowledging the sanctity of these special times.

The Christian Symbolism in ‘Xmas’

Similarly, the abbreviation ‘Xmas’ is often misunderstood. Far from removing Christ from Christmas, this term has a deeply Christian origin. The ‘X’ in ‘Xmas’ represents the Greek letter Chi, the first letter in the Greek word Χριστός (Christos), which means Christ.

This abbreviation was used by early Christians as a symbol for Jesus. So, when we see ‘Xmas,’ it’s not a secularization of Christmas but rather a continuation of an ancient Christian practice.

If you hear someone on TV or the radio telling you that the term Xmas is taking Christ out of Christmas, realize that they are misleading you, the letter X as a stand-in for the word Christ is an ancient and deep tradition of the church.

If you go to a church where the pastor rails against the use of X in Xmas, you need to go to a different church. I know that is painful, but either your pastor knows better and is lying to you, or your pastor has a habit on speaking on topics he lacks the credentials to speak on. Either option is a bad option for your spiritual growth.

Living Christian Values Beyond Seasonal Symbols

Understanding the Christian roots of these terms is important, but it’s equally crucial to focus on living out Christian values consistently. The essence of Christmas – love, peace, generosity – are teachings at the heart of Jesus’ message. These principles shouldn’t be confined to a single season; they should guide our actions throughout the year.

We should be far more concerned about if we are keeping “Christ” in “Christian.” Rather than worrying if the local department store that is trying to sell you a commercialized version of Christmas is keeping Christ in Christmas, our primary concern should be if we are showing love, peace, generosity, joy, grace, and forgiveness in our day to day life. The name of Christ is something we must live up to if we claim it. It is far more than a slogan or a seasonal greeting. Our concern should be if our life reflects Christ’s love.

To make that simple and not cliche’d, when your neighbors — the ones God calls you to love no matter who they are — look at you, do they see Christ’s love? Start there. The “War on Christmas” and the “Culture Wars” are just easy distractions — low hanging fruit. The real war is the selfishness and self-justification for our flaws against the teachings of Christ that often run counter to our own desires.

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