Monday, December 22, 2014

Gasp! My grandmother never said this!


My grandmother, rest her soul, would shudder in her grave if she knew I was about to address this Christmas greeting. There are so many misconceptions when it comes to Christmas traditions. I find it interesting in our man-made celebrations of something holy we don't know really why we do what we do except what traditions have taught us to do.  

Somewhere jingling all the way, we assume that those who have gone before us knew what they were doing.  Do we fear crossing the traditional line of annual holidays to discover their original meanings?  

Gasp.....Merry Xmas!  Now before you stop reading please...read on for a thorough explanation of what this salutation really means.  I know...I know...I'm really pushing the "Keep Christ in Christmas" protest line now aren't I?

Xmas is often veiwed as offensive and an exclusionary term to remove Christ from Christmas. You see this term used in secular circles and marketing campaigns that imply the creator of the slogan or sign maker was probably in a hurry, didn't know how to spell Christmas correctly or just wanting to abbreviate our beloved sacred holiday.

The truth is, saying Merry "X-mas" doesn't defame the name of Christ. It actually includes Christ in Christmas. You won't find Xmas in the traditional worship songs and carols for sure. I've hardly even seen it advertised this year.  Why, even the greeting card companies have changed their language to print "Season's Greetings." Now isn't that just an all inclusive and confusing way to acknowledge a sacred act of our Divine Being coming to earth to save all of mankind?

"Xmas" is most associated with a focused slant towards materialism, with verbiage that slaps our cultural and religious rituals in the face with disgust. But what does it really mean?

I think you will find this as a fascinating and yet, quite interesting explanation:

First of all, the abbreviation predates by centuries. "It was first used in the mid 1500s with the "X". In the Greek alphabet the letter stands for “chi,” as the first letter in Χριστός. But the real clincher to this Christmas juxtaposition is that Xριστός means “Christ.” X has been an acceptable representation of the word “Christ” for hundreds of years. This device is known as a Christogram. The "mas" in Xmas is the Old English word for “mass.”   In the same vein, the dignified terms Xpian and Xtian have been used in place of the word “Christian.” ~ excerpt from Dictionary.com

Looks like the Greek writers might have just been a little enamored with the flexibility of the letter “X.” 

Dear X, you might own Christmas after all.

Unfortunately, the very same letter can represent many negative things such as a movie rating, a medical diagnostic machine showing a break or tumor, and a tool used by the all- powerful Transportation Security Administration experts to examine all things luggage, including the inside and outside of you. X even stands for a infamous entertainment system that attracts all men under and over 12, the Xbox game system.

So you see used in the context of Christmas it was the Greek who really wanted to include Christ in Christmas in a most ingenious way.  Maybe they were trying to send us some secret code to Christmas, bringing the signs and wonders of a child-like faith using letters and symbols.  

Like it or not, I still think it's a greeting my grandmother wouldn't say. On this point of keeping Christ in Christmas, I say why put confusion in a word where confusion already exists. At least that is one way to look at it, otherwise to use the X or no X, I'll leave it to the Greeks.  So Xmas can also mean Christmas; but to clarify it's meaning we could say 'Christmas' rather than 'ex-mas'!

Say what you mean and mean what you say!  Merry Christmas!

Are there some greetings you avoid to keep from using as to not offend?
Post a Comment