Contend Earnestly: Putting "Christ" Back Into Christmas?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Putting "Christ" Back Into Christmas?

Tell some Christians "Merry X-Mas" or "Happy Holidays" and they will react as bad as they would if you preach with jeans on or try and contextualize the gospel to their children. They simply lose it. I have seen some, when told "Happy Holidays" in the supermarket, snapping back, "Merry CHRISTmas!" Wow. They'll tell you that if you use these terms that you are not being a witness for Christ during this special part of the year. Don't you know that if you rearrange the letters of Santa you can make the name of Satan! Or, I will put the name of Christ back into Christmas, while you put the "ho, ho" back into the term ho-liday.

I find it odd that people hold so dear the term Christmas while not really thinking of the other terms or who is using them. They also parade the term like it is as biblical as the Trinity. While Christmas is definitely a special time of year and one that I do enjoy because Christ is definitely on display in many places, the fact is that never in the Bible are we told to remember the birth of Christ.

While the consumerism does bother me quite a bit during Christmas, so does the Christian who marches around with a chip on their shoulder like they are taking on the world that hates Jesus during the Christmas time. They find it funny when people spray paint red on fur coats and yell, "murderer" but what they don't understand is they look just as ridiculous with their "Merry CHRISTmas" as they try and be a witness when yelling at the clerk that is just trying to keep his job by following the boss' orders to say "Happy Holidays."

Here are a couple of reasons that the terms "Merry X-Mas" and "Happy Holidays" don't bother me at all and could care less who uses the terms or why.

1. Merry X-Mas is Merry CHRIST-mas

This is actually pretty funny. Most people get angry when they see the "X" in place of "Christ" in Christmas. They say that people are taking Christ out of Christmas or that people are crossing out Christ for Christmas. These same people crack me up because they also have 5 different kinds of "Jesus Fish" on the back of their car and every one of the i's on their t-shirts are dotted with the Ichthus as well.

If they just did some looking around they would notice that in the Ichthus that the second letter in the Ichthus is the Greek letter "x" that stands for...yeah...Christ. This shortened term for Christ seems to go all the way back to the 4th century and one of the most endeared symbols in our Christian history uses it in the Chi Rho by Constantine.

I actually laugh every time I hear someone get upset about someone using "X" in place of Christ. If they stopped making T-Shirts saying "Put Christ Back Into Christmas", take off their earphones blasting "Christian" music and step out of their bubble they would realize that when someone uses "X" in Christmas it gives us a great opportunity to speak about what the "X" stands for. I would ask that people do research on how the "X" was used and then be ready to speak to others about its importance. I think we would all be surprised at the usage and also the reaction of knowing the importance of the term and the realization that they haven't taken Christ out of Christmas, but kept Him there and given us a great way to contextualize the gospel to others.

2. Happy Holidays!

The second thing that really irks people are stores or people that say, "Happy Holidays!" What is the big deal? We have always said that this is a great "holiday season" and the term means "Holy Day." And by the way, whether we like to admit it or not, there is more going on during the solstice than just Christmas. We also have Kwanzaa, Hanukka and don't forget the best of all the holidays, Festivus for the rest of us. Now, I am not saying that these holidays are to be revered in any way or are they correct in any way. But, we must realize that since we are not a Christian nation but we are a nation of many religions and many diverse people, that stores who pigeonhole people to the term "Christmas" are not very smart in the way that they market.

Let me ask you dear Christian: Would you shop at a place where Kwanzaa was the only thing celebrated there or would you boycott it? Don't answer that question.

What I would say that instead of getting crazy about people saying Happy Holidays, why not simply say, "Happy Holidays" back? I have to say that you are not doing any good, and actually pretty shameful by making "Merry CHRISTmas" very pronounced when you snap back.

Start thinking before you snap back and ask how you can use these two terms, Merry X-Mas and Happy Holidays for the cause of Christ instead of making yourself sound very odd. By the way, if you do snap back and hear someone laughing loudly, turn around because it's me and I might just spray paint your "CHRIST-mas" sweater red for fun to make a point.


Dave said...


I really enjoyed this one and I actually agree! I was one of the people you describe until I understood the history of "X" and I've recently submitted complaints to several companies for their "holiday" marketing techniques. But after reading your blog (and out of fear of the paint)I'm reconsidering my perspective. Out of sheer rebellion, I still don't like the "Holiday" thing, mostly because they know nothing of the "Holy Day" origins and because I'm convinced that it's more than tolerance for the religious "melting pot" concept we enjoy in America; I think many do use the term holiday as a direct/indirect blow at Christmas. All of that said, I think you're far more on target than I am!

Dave(of YP fame)

29dinosaur said...

Frankly Seth it wouldn't matter to me if the of Christ was taken out of the cultural view of the summer holiday season - for that's more or less what it's called in Australia. Taking the name of our Lord out of Christmas may even be a good thing... whatever - who cares? I'm sure God will not be thwarted in any of His purposes.

To walk through super markets and having all the awful versions of Christmas carols blaring through the stores makes me cringe as people go on what seems are insatiable shopping extravaganzas. If Christmas is the only starting point for Christians to start to engage the world with the truth of the gospel then they are to be of all people most pitied (or maybe they need to really be grasped by the wonder of the gospel in God's grace upon grace. Maybe they need to learn that the gospel is not Christmas, Easter and picketing abortion clinics. I'm sure I'm missing opportunities every day of the year to live, breath and speak the gospel, but some days even in many seemingly insignificant ways I'm sure God is using even this poor old bit of clay for His purpose). I don't deny that there are some great carols and I enjoy Handel's Messiah sung by King's college choir or at the Sydney opera house but when all said and done it's only a remnant of church history that went wobbly - it's not a biblical command that one needs to fulfill in obedience to Christ.

Have a happy holiday in the northern hemisphere!

David Shaw said...


Most of those that substitute X in place of Christ in Christmas are not doing it with the understanding that X is Christ in Greek. They see it as a shorter way to write the word Christmas, that's all. I also find it interesting that those that do use a Greek X in place of Christ don't use the Greek word for mass, which is the last part of the word Christmas. It reasons that if one uses Greek for part of the word they should use it for all of the word.

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