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Section: words

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Keeping Christ in Xmas

Author: Realta Dragonfly
Posted: December 16th. 2012
Times Viewed: 3,194

Well, it is that time of year again. Lights everywhere, carols piped into each department store, and the ever-present “Keep Christ in Christmas” sign on every street corner. It is the time when all we hear about is the supposed ‘War on Christmas’. I am pretty tolerant of other religious beliefs but am sick and tired of seeing “Keep Christ in Christmas” everywhere I turn.

By now the true origins of modern Christmas are widely known. So, that is not why I am writing this. I am writing to answer a question I once had: “Where did the 'Xmas' come from anyway?” Having found my answer, I now wonder what exactly is wrong with the term “Xmas”. Today we are told that Xmas is a mere abbreviation and an attempt to remove the religious aspect of this most commercial of holidays.

Jesus. We have all heard that name. Most of us know the story. I like to think of him as Joshua. In Aramaic/ Hebrew, he would be called Yesua/ Yehosua. In Latin and Greek, we find Iesus and Iesous respectively. Over time the 'I' becomes a 'J' and we get Jesus, which is Latin for Joshua.

What of Christ? The Christ in ‘Jesus Christ’ is not a name but a title. It is derived from the Greek ‘kristos’, which means ‘anointed one’. This being a translation of the Hebrew “masiah”, which is where the word ‘messiah’ comes from. So we have the Latin ‘Jesus” and the Greek ‘Christ” which would translate in modern English to ‘Joshua the anointed”. I like it.

But what about that pesky X? Why, I thought you would never ask.

You may have seen this symbol. You may even know what it is. Well I never knew. For those like me, this is called a CHI-RHO. It is the Catholic Church’s monogram of Christ. See that X. It is the Greek letter CHI. Now depending on who you ask, Christmas means ‘Christ sent’ ort ‘ day of Christ’ and while December 25 is not the actual birth date of Jesus (not even close) , it is still the day celebrated as such by millions of Christians everywhere. So the next time a follower of Christ gives you the “We’re keeping Christ in Christmas” line, ask them “What is wrong with the ‘X’ part anyway?” Chances are they don’t have a reasonable answer. You, on the other hand, now have a logical answer.

Of course, it doesn’t matter anyway when you look at the true origins of modern day Christmas celebrations. Each time-honored tradition is a remnant of a pagan past. The majority of us all know these, so let’s just take a quick glance*:

Why not Dec 25?

1. December is the cold rainy season in the region. What shepherd would be out in the fields on such a night? Freezing to death.

2. The Roman census was not taken in the winter because the hazardous conditions made travel unlikely and therefore would make the census pointless.

3. Luke’s account of the birth of the Christ suggest either summer or early fall.

Traditions and Possible origins

1. The Date- Early Christianity was not very popular among adherents to the old religions so church leaders made efforts at conversion by placing their holy day over more popular celebrations, most notably, the week long celebration of Saturnalia (which was debauchery at its finest, I hear) and Sol Invictus, one of the holiest days in the Mithras cult.

2. O Christmas Tree- The Asheira cult worshipped trees and would decorate them during celebrations. (I haven’t found much more than this but am interested.)

3.Presents- Now, the main focus of this holiday for many, this custom has possible origins during the Saturnalia where the people were urged to give gifts to the emperor. This becomes popular amongst the general population and absorbed into Xmas.

4.Mistletoe- Featured in Norse mythology involving Baldor. Also highly prized by the Druids. (I do not know the Xmas connection here though. Please enlighten.)

5. Holly- Myth of the Battle of the Oak King and Holly King where the Holly King reins at this time of year.

6. Santa Claus- Ah, yes the jolly elf. Based on Saint Nicholas, who in life was a Bishop of the church and a member of the Council of Nicaea. His death is recorded as December 6. He become a patron saint of sailors who carried his story to Italy where he become merged with Pasqua Epiphania, an Italian grandmotherly figure believed to give gifts to children by placing them in their stockings. He eventually made his way north again where he merged with Woden and gained some of his more familiar appearance and mode of travel. Of course, over the years, we got our modern Santa Claus.

Well, I hope this helped somebody out there. If you want to have a healthy, logical and reasonable discussion about ‘the reason for the season’, I am more than thrilled to participate. Just please, leave the willful ignorance and knee-jerk reactions at the door.

Have a Merry Xmas, Happy Chanukah, and a Joyous Yule Celebration!





Footnotes:
*I intentionally left the information vague to encourage further exploration on the reader’s part. If you feel I have incorrect information please feel free to let me know. I am always open to learning.

All information in this article can be found at Wikipedia. Some found at ucg.org (not what I expected either) .

http://www.ucg.org/bible-study/lessons-no-one-taught-me-about-christmas-and-bible/
www.wikipedia.org

http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm



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