Happy Holidays!

Dec 10, 2023

Happy Holidays!

There’s a lot of righteous indignation at what appears to be a movement to remove CHRIST from Christmas, and I’d like to chime in. Without Christ, there IS no Christmas, and without Christmas, there IS no Redemption Plan. Jesus was BORN … Emmanuel, God with us … to live and die as a sacrifice for our sins! Glory to GOD in the highest!!

That said, and before I hop on any bandwagons, let us consider the truth.

My childhood family memories are saturated with a deep love of God, church, family … and Christmas. The TRUE meaning of Christmas. We have saved ancient decorations, ornaments … and cards of Christmases long past when one family member happily wished another a “Merry Xmas!” (I can promise you, there was nothing pagan about it.) I have a letter from 1945 where my Dad described his AAC troop ship as it was “lit up like a Xmas tree!” My grandparents sent a Christmas greeting to my GREAT-grandparents, wishing them “A Joyous Xmas and a Happy New Year”— on a postcard dated December 22, 1911. These were devout, God-fearing folks who would have NEVER deleted Christ from their Christmas.

The TRUTH of the matter is found in the Greek. The Greek letter chi, which looks like the letter “x” in our alphabet, is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ: “Christós.” The Greek X has been seen as a written abbreviation for “Christ” since at least the 4th Century, while the abbreviated “Christmas”—Xmas—was commonly used in written and printed form by CHRISTIANS since the 18th Century. The original intent of using “Xmas” was not to cross out Christ at all, but merely to use the then-commonly-accepted symbol for Christ, using fewer letters for writing and printing purposes. In truth, the X in Xmas has ALWAYS meant “Christ.”

Still today, the true meaning of X (as the Greek abbreviation for Christ) has not changed, any more, in fact, than the rainbow has somehow changed from its Biblically true meaning because of cultural shifts. Ignorance does not change TRUTH. Naturally, not every current use of the letter X means “Christ,” and there are those in our culture who DO try to use the X to cross Christ out of Christmas. But it’s misguided and foolish—it simply CAN’T be done.

While we’re at it, why are we so offended when someone says “Happy Holidays?” It means “Holy Days.” If you wish someone “Happy Holy Days!” … is that a BAD thing? Seriously, isn’t it just a way of addressing ALL the holy days of the season—Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah (which Jesus celebrated)—in one inclusive greeting? It really doesn’t deny Christmas—it includes it.

I started to be offended at the salutation “Season’s Greetings!” … by those that feel more comfortable in celebrating the seasons of nature than centering our attention on the God who created it all. But then I read what Paul said to the citizens of Lystra in Acts 14. (Allow me to paraphrase in part.) “Turn to the living God who made everything … who, though He has had to put up with unbelievers, walking in their own way, YET He’s always had a witness of His goodness in that He “gave us fruitful SEASONS, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (15-17 KJV)

In TRUTH, even in saying “Season’s Greetings” we testify of the good that God has given us in THIS SEASON! Actually, come to think about it, remind me at the first sign of spring to declare a hearty “Season’s Greetings!” As we welcome the warmth of summer, and the first colors of autumn … “Season’s Greetings!” Let’s celebrate and give God praise for THIS, or whatever, fruitful season that He has given us!

It’s easy, even in this season of “good tidings of great joy,” to be discouraged at the faithlessness of others. The poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote about someone who, during the American Civil War, “heard the bells on Christmas Day” and with an anguished heart cried:

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

So, let’s not get too upset when we spot a “Merry Xmas!” or when someone wishes us “Happy Holidays!” or “Season’s Greetings!” Let it go, save your righteous wrath, and simply respond with a hearty “Merry Christmas!” God is not diminished by ignorance, nor is His glory tarnished in any way by scorn.

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” (Psalm 37:8 NIV)

REJOICE! Declare with the angels, “Glory to GOD in the HIGHEST, and on earth peace, good will to ALL men!” Don’t let your Christmas spirit be darkened for one moment! The wrong SHALL fail, the right SHALL prevail! “Xmas” still means CHRISTMAS—it’s a fact, whether other folks realize it or not. The amazing thing is: even when someone uses it as an offense, they in their ignorance still give GOD praise!

“Even the wrath of man shall praise You; with the survivors of wrath You will clothe Yourself.” (Psalm 76:10 MSB)