Did you know that there are over 20 religious celebrations between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31st? While the vast majority of them are Christian, we also find people celebrating Hannukah, Kathiki Deetham (Hindu), Bodhi Day (Buddhism), Yalda (Persian), and many others. Ramadan (Islam) can also fall between those dates!
The term “Happy Holidays” actually stems from the term “Holy-days” – and there is nothing wrong with wishing anyone goodwill. As a matter of fact, Jesus teaches us to “let our light shine so that others may see and glorify our Father” (Matt. 5:16). Paul tells us to “Let your graciousness be known to everyone” (Philippians 4:5). People will be more willing to hear about Jesus if we approach them with grace instead of an antagonism!
In a similar vein, did you know that the term “X-mas” was originated by the early Church? In the 300’s Emperor Constantine adopted the XP (Chi-Rho) symbol for his armies, from his faith in Jesus. The Church then adopted it as a symbol for Christ. The first published usage of “XPmas” was in the year 1021 by a Christian scholar, and the Christian poet Samuel Coleridge used “Xmas” in 1801 in a letter to a friend.
The “X” is the Greek letter CHI, which stood for “Christ”. “Mass” means “the gathering”, so “X-mas” is “the gathering to honor Christ”. So this was not a modern invention of trying to remove Christ from Christmas; it was an ancient symbol of honoring Christ!
How do we honor Christ today? I believe that we take on the attitude of Christ – peace, grace, forbearance – and love people into the kingdom. I have never met anyone who has been “argued” into the Kingdom; only those who have been loved in!
To keep Christ in Christmas, we should:
- Feed the hungry
- Clothe the naked
- Visit those sick and in prison (whether they deserved it or not!)
- Practice forgiveness
- Ask other for forgiveness
- Speak only that which is true and helpful – not demeaning or destructive
- Love the unlovable
- Walk humbly with our God.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Merry Xmas, the blessings of Jesus be seen through you!
- Rev. Bill