Growing up in a Christian family, we always referred to Jesus’ birthday as Christmas. I was taught that anything contrary to that, specifically Xmas, was an attempt to remove Christ from His proper place. We’ve all seen shopping ads, movies, cards, etc. that say Merry Xmas or the like, instead of Christmas. You might remember a few years ago there was a major push by the retail industry to remove Christmas altogether in favor of the more politically correct Happy Holidays, which was deemed less offensive to other religions, Islam, traditional Judaism, atheism, etc. This isn’t a new argument, as it seems every year we hear how “Christ is being taken out of Christmas.”
Add to this the explosion of social media, Twitter, Facebook, etc., not to mention the texting craze, and there is an ever present usage of Xmas in order to save character space or too avoid typing out the word Christmas. In addition to this, Christ professing believers are also becoming more prone to the use of Xmas and justify its usage based on the Greek letter Chi or “X”, the first letter of Christ in the Greek, which also corresponds to the first letter in Xmas. In fact, some proponents for Xmas usage might even argue that this abbreviation dates back 1000 years, before there were malls, advertisements, or any attempt by the media to push for political correctness. My problem with any usage of the word is multifaceted so allow me to elaborate.
Let’s observe what’s going on in today’s society. First, there are non-believers who are attempting to actually remove the usage of Christmas because it’s not politically correct and might be determined offensive. An example of this would be the omission of the word Christmas from the entire 2009 Macy’s Christmas catalog. Several other recent examples include, but are not limited to, multiple firefighter departments being asked to remove Merry Christmas signs. Next we have those, who in an attempt to be cool or slick with character usage have saved at least 3 seconds off of texting time and 5 (Christmas – Christ + X = 5, for you math majors) characters off of any Tweets, a fascinating display of efficiency. Finally, there are those Christians who are quite simply too smart for their own good, in using Xmas because of the ancient Greek alphabet. So I ask, how is one to determine through the usage of this word, whether it is out of suppression of the knowledge of God, as Romans 1:21 teaches, whether it is out of carelessness (or laziness), or whether the intent is to prove a more profound knowledge of Greek linguistics? The answer is there is no difference. Intentional or not, this is a suppression of Christ.
This post isn’t just about keeping Christ in Christmas, it’s about professing the name Jesus all year long and proclaiming His miraculous, prophecy fulfilling birth as a symbol of hope that a Messiah was born with the sole purpose of dying for our sins, yours and mine. The world wants to destroy as many reminders as they can about Christ, whether it it is placing emphasis on commercialism and Santa during Christmas or calling it Xmas, removing In God We Trust from our currency and federal buildings, or declaring it hate speech to proselytize and attempt to convert non-believers to Christianity. Maybe I was raised too old school and not “relevant” enough by today’s standards, but my Bible says “we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (I Corinthians 1:23 ESV) so Christ will be a stumbling block and I know that His name causes division (Matthew 10:34-39) therefore I will all the more proudly proclaim the name of Christ not just on the day we recognize His birth, but everyday of the year. Ask yourself this the next time you’re tempted to label those decoration boxes Xmas or you want to text Merry Xmas to your friends, does it align with Colossians 3:17 ESV, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
18For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. I Corinthians 1:18-25 ESV