Christmas, faith, myths, testimony

Five reasons why “Happy Holidays” and “Xmas” Don’t Bother Me (And Shouldn’t Bother You)

  1. The term “xmas” was started by religious people and is not an attack on Christians

    .  The X in Xmas is not, in fact, an English X. It is a Greek X, and X has long been used as a representation of Christ’s name dating all the way back to the second century. 

    375px-ephesus_ichthyscrop
    from Wikipedia

    X has been used by religious people in the word Christmas since before the 1500s.  Only recently did someone who was not well-educated in church history decide that it was an attack on Christianity and Christmas.  If you think about it, it makes sense that they’d use the X.  In a world where everything had to be handwritten, it was not uncommon for people to come up with shorthand versions of words.  My grandmother was a secretary in the 1970s, and she had a whole book of shorthand for note taking. Since it was known that X was the shorthand for Christ,  Xmas was known to mean Christmas.See this link for a detailed description of how and when X was used as Christ’s name. It is one and the same. Feel free to use them interchangeably as they mean the exactly same thing.  But, if you use it interchangeably,  expect someone religious to be upset, and expect to have to explain yourself. For the sake of peace, I generally avoid using it. But I am not offended if others use it because I understand the facts around its use.

  2. Most people who use “xmas” and “happy holidays” are trying to be practical –not offensive.

     Their intent is usually to be kind to everyone regardless of what holidays they celebrate or to make Christmas tree for sale sign that takes up less space. But, if we Christians respond in an offended way then we look petty, self-indulgent, and ignorant of facts. It does not bring people closer to Jesus if we behave poorly. They look at us and want nothing to do with us because we can’t even behave politely. This movement of “Keep Christ in Christmas” is ruining our Christian testimony and is not representative of how Christ behaved. There might be some people who are being intentionally offensive. I will address that in number five (see below).  

  3. I don’t have right to demand that other people do things my way.

     Unless those people are under my authority (like my children), I  don’t have the right to demand that they do things my way.  Christianity is far more about my responsibilities than my rights. We’re commanded to follow Jesus who gave up all His rights as King of the Universe and came to earth to die a horrible death. It’s ironic that we celebrate Him giving up His rights by demanding our own rights.  

  4. Christians don’t have a monopoly on winter holidays.

    Christians don’t have the right to make everyone else celebrate their holiday. Since Christmas isn’t even mentioned in scripture this is not a sin issue or really even a defending-the-faith issue. Christmas is a conglomerate many cultures’ and many religions’ traditions. It simply is. If you study history, you can easily see that. Even the practices that Christians participate in today have a lot of roots in unChristian beliefs. I’m not saying abandoned your traditions. I’m saying know they are traditions and not Bible commands. I’m saying know where your traditions came from and be respectful of other people’s versions of winter festivals. No one has been won to Christ while being scolded for leaving Jesus out out of a celebration. We’re not going to win people to Christ if we can’t respect them and treat them with decency. 

  5. If the extent of our persecution is that someone tries to take a holiday away,  we have it incredibly easy.

    We are incredibly spoiled and deceived if we think this issue is serious persecution when other Christians around the world are being beheaded. We are going to be persecuted if we stand for Christ (but not that much in the US because it’s a religiously safe place). Fallen man will try to remove all traces of God from our world. It must be this way. Things will get worse the closer we get to Jesus’ return. But know this: the more we’re persecuted, the more people will come to Christ. So welcome the persecution for the sake of the gospel! We should respond the way Jesus did: He didn’t say a word. He didn’t revile. He didn’t fight back. He trusted that God know what He was doing and committed Himself to God’s care.  

So, keep Christmas however you want to. But, if you’re going to use this time of year to honor Jesus by celebrating His birth, make sure sure you’re not losing your testimony along the way.  

Because that would not honoring to Him.

And, dishonoring Him while claiming to celebrate Him is an immensely unfortunate irony and a reality for many Christians.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

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