Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Keeping the 'X' in Xmas

Every year, around...oh, I don't know....September, you start hearing ads for what the best new xmas gift will be, where the big sales will be, an endless barrage of holiday music and bells ringing everytime you try and walk into a store to buy some toothpaste or a frozen pizza...and honestly? I fricken love it.

I love decorating the tree and watching snow storms and drinking cocoa and eating popcorn from my stepgrandparents while we open gifts...the whole thing.  Ok, well I am not too into the consumerism, but even I like to see a tree with a bunch of nicely wrapped boxes underneath.

But there is one thing I hate about about xmas, I hear it over and over and it annoys me more each time.  I'm referring to the "keeping the christ in christmas" crowd.  You know who I mean, those (uninformed) individuals who think that saying 'xmas' instead of 'christmas' is right up there with burning bibles or punching the pope.

People seem to get all upset that saying x-mas is somehow sacrilegious, that it is deleting Christ from the holiday. Actually though the root of the X in Xmas is a Greek letter meaning “chi” that looks like an X. X has been used as an abbreviation for Christ used by the Christians since about 100 ad. Christians during that time frequently referred to themselves as Xians or Xistians and referred to the “mass of Christ” (Christmas) as Xmas. It is not a recent thing, it is not a way for non-religious people to take the religion out of Christmas, it is an abbreviation that was started by the earliest Christians and was used by the church.

But if you really want to get worked up about how Christmas has lost its Christians roots look at St. Nicholas (The Saint that Santa Claus is based on). St. Nicholas was a man who anonymously donated his money to helping the poor. On that note, helping the poor was also a pretty big part of Christ’s message. Whether you call it Xmas or Christmas, I think everyone can admit that rampant consumerism has become one of the main focuses of the holiday season.

So maybe instead of worrying about what arbitrary abbreviations other people should or should not use, spend this holiday season worrying about homeless people, people losing their homes to foreclosure, the growing number of the unemployed in the US, people who have to risk their lives at war in order to afford college (I know that isn’t the only reason people join the military but it is one of them) people without health insurance, people who can’t afford enough food, or the millions of people in developing nations who are living in abject poverty because of how the US economy is run.

There is my rant.

Have a Safe and Happy (Christmas / Xmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / December / Whatever)

does this post seem a little familiar to any of you? It was originally on facebook and it was after writing this that I decided I wanted a blog.