There is Nothing Wrong with ‘Xmas’

I remember when I was a child how offended my mother would get when she saw the word ‘Xmas’ on a commercial or at a store.  She would really become angry saying, “There they go again trying to take Christ out of Christmas.”  On some level, I can understand her unhappiness.  Today, with the ACLU and the court system actually trying to remove any reference to Christmas, it is understandable that Christians would be on the defensive.  Almost daily we are faced with stories about long-time traditional festivals that are replacing the word “Christmas” with “Holiday” or “Festival.”  Seinfeld sublimely underscored many of these attitudes with the famous “Festivus for the Rest of Us” episode.

However, Christians who become offended at the word Xmas, simply have not studied what the word actually connotes.  In early Christianty, the X was actually a Greek letter pronounced “Chi” or “Kai.”  It was the first letter in the Greek word for Christ.

Due to persecution, early Christians would use the X as a symbol meaning Christ and denoting themselves as Christians.  The familiar Fish symbol seen on many cars goes back to this tradition.  The symbols that look like IXOYE (pronounced ‘ixthus’ or ‘icthus’), are really a Greek acronym denoting: Jesus, Christ, of God, Son, Savior.  The Greek word is actually an acrostic that spells out ‘fish.’

So, you see, when you spell Christmas with an ‘X,’ you are just paying homage to 2000 years of Christian tradition.  You can even use it as a tool to teach others when you hear them asking, “Why is Christmas spelled with an “X”?

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The Santa Claus Conundrum (Or, Christian Attitudes Toward Santa Claus

Many Christians understandably get confused when they are forced to deal with Santa Claus.  If we include getting presents from Santa Claus in our observance Christmas of the Christmas holiday, are we in essence lying to our children?  How can we observe a holiday based on the birth of Christ, and incorporate a lie in the observance?  Does paying so much attention to Santa Claus take away from Christ?

Well, I don’t really think it is all that complicated.  I know several Christians who simply ‘do not do’ Santa Claus.  I think this is a shame.  I encourage my child to have a good imagination, and I think watching her pretend is a great thing, and a source of entertainment for me as well as her.  Santa Claus teaches children about giving and that being good is often rewarded (and being bad is punished).  These are excellent life lessons for a small child.

The problem seems to revolve mostly around lying to our children.  I personally do not have any problems helping my child keep up the Santa Claus façade.  As long as she wants to believe in him, I will encourage her to do so.  However, I know the day will come when she will ask me straight-up if he is real, and I will tell her the truth.  I will also remind her how much she has enjoyed pretending that there is a Santa Claus, and how she should not ruin the same feeling for other kids who still believe he is real.

I feel sorry for the parents that do not let their children believe in Santa Claus, and likewise, I feel sorry for their children who miss out on part of their childhood.  They are robbing their kids of the chance to take part in a great Western tradition, and much of the wonder that comes with being a child at Christmas.  Often, these children grow up and become embittered by the fact that they did not get to participate in the fun that their friends had.  These are not good feelings for a teenager who is facing other temptations such as sex and drugs from their friends.  I do not want my child left with the feeling that, “Maybe, my parents just don’t want me to have fun.”

On the other hand, I once knew a girl (a twenty something) who said that because her parents lied to her about Santa Claus, she could not trust them.  I have to say that this was one of the most offensive examples of an ingrate that I have ever seen.  So, the fact that her parents got her all of those gifts, and tried so hard to give her a fun childhood meant nothing to her.  In the end, I think she was just looking for a reason to blame her parents for all of her problems, which she did.

The question about whether Santa Claus detracts from Christ at Christmas is a touchier subject.  It is true that Santa Claus is a big part of the secularization of Christmas, but that just means that Christian parents have to do their job, and make sure that their children do know ‘the reason for the season.’

About twenty years ago, Amy Grant’s music was becoming so popular that it was crossing over from the Christian music stations to the pop music stations.  At the time, Christian stations found themselves in a conundrum.  Her music could be interpreted to be either about God, or maybe a friend or boyfriend depending on how you applied the lyrics.  As a result, many Christian music stations found the need to determine if they were still going to play her music or not.  In the end, most played the music because they correctly argued that having young people listen to the music might actually draw them to Christianity.  The same argument works for Santa Claus.  If you prefer, think of Santa Claus as a gateway drug that draws the world to ask, “Why are we celebrating this holiday, anyway?”  As Bart Simpson once said, “Christmas is the time of year when people of all religions come together to worship Christ.”

It is also helpful to remember that the Santa Claus legend is based on Saint Nicholas of Myra who was by all accounts a Christian that anyone would do well to emulate in his life.

I’ll bet his lifetime stats are awesome!

This is just funny.  giggle.  It hardly seems fair, though.

Christian Mobs Terrorize Europe!

Dateline Bolzano, Italy:

 

For the past 48 hours mobs of Christians have flooded the streets of most of Italy’s cities and towns burning frogs and artists in effigy, as a reaction to the Pope’s condemnation of a piece of art depicting a crucified frog.  Several innocent and uninvolved people have been caught up in the mob violence and killed.  Unfortunately people wearing smocks, berets, and the color green have been unmercifully attacked and killed by the bloodthirsty bands of angry churchgoers.  By this time, sympathetic incidences of violence and organized marches have spread to cities all over Europe.  The news arm of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the Catholic cable station, is doing everything it can to slant the coverage of this event in a way as to encourage more violence, and make the people in the mobs look like the real victims.

Of course, it has all had an impact.  The governments of Belgian and Demark have banned art in general and condemned the artist Martin Kippenberger, even though he is already dead.  French authorities have closed the Louvre, and British legislators are reviewing the Old Testament and examining the possibilities of codifying the laws found in the Pentateuch.  Finally, laws suits claiming violations of Canada’s hate crimes laws have been filed by Catholics against artists and museums all over Canada.

The Pope seemed a little more sanguine as he said of the artist, “He’s dead now, I’ve got it handled.”

 

This was a fun little bit of satire to write, though it is not my usual style.  The point is that the Christians and Catholics of Europe did not act in this manner.  I wonder what would have happened if the artist had sculpted a frog and called it Muhammad.  Set aside the imagery of the cross.  Muslims would have gone crazy.  See the Danish cartoons if you need evidence. 

There is an interesting dichotomy here.  Muslims seem to have unreasonably violent reactions to these matters, but are appeased by progressives who do so under the guise of tolerance and fighting hate crimes.  While, when the same thing (or worse) is done to icons that the Christian religion deems as holy, the Christians appropriately protest them.  These peaceful admonitions and protests are met by the same progressives with disdain and snickering.  What a bunch of hypocrites.