Guess What? (Guest blog!) You can’t take the Christ out of Christmas…!

With the author’s permission, I am sharing some Brooklyn thoughts on Christmas today (hence the Brooklyn Bridge above!)…read it with a New York accent!  It is called Guess What?  You can’t take the Christ out of Christmas by my colleague and eager Twitter-er Adam Scherr, writing on behalf of the New York Christian Science Committee on Publication office.   Here goes…

Let’s start with a little lesson in etymology:

The word “Christ” and its compounds, including “Christmas”, have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years – long before the modern “Xmas” was commonly used.  “Christ” was often written as “XP” or “Xt”; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as AD 1021.

This X and P arose as the uppercase forms of the Greek letters used in ancient abbreviations for the word “CHRIST” and are still widely seen in many Eastern Orthodox icons depicting yours truly  Jesus The Christ.

There are some people I know who think that by saying or writing Merry Xmas  they were leaving out the “Jesus part” of Christmas. Yet, they were merrily speaking Greek!

Some people may want to replace Santa Claus with Frosty The Snowman.  I don’t claim to speak for Jesus, but I tend to think he’d be happy with Frosty OR Santa.  Santa, because he represents giving to all… unconditional love… and cookies!  And Frosty, because, interestingly – and with a bit of a stretch – he represents Resurrection, when he says as he’s melting:  “I’ll come back again next year.”

Let’s pretend that you actually could take the Christ out of Christmas. (You can’t. We’re just pretending – just like you can’t take the 4th out of The 4th of July or the Thanks out of Thanksgiving or the Pass out of Passover or the Atone out of Yom Kippur!)  All you’d be left with is December 25th.  And I’m sorry, but can you actually take a day off of work just to celebrate December 25th?  Let’s be really honest: aren’t you glad some of us celebrate religious holidays?  We do pile up the days off on the score-board…you gotta give us that!

For me, Christmas is a day like no other.  We get to celebrate this amazing man who asked us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We get to honor “the best man that ever trod the globe.”  And all he asks of us is to be meek, merciful and peacemakers.  Oh – and he asks us to rejoice.  He even let us know that “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” Guess what else?  We get to be wise men and give gifts!  We can humble ourselves and receive them.  We can “give us this day our daily bread!”  We can forgive debts – and debtors.  We can be forgiven.  We can be delivered from evil.  We can live in the kingdom with power and glory forever.  Who wouldn’t want that… EVERY day?

And if that doesn’t sit well…guess what?  I’ll just love you anyway.  ‘Cause dats da way he wanted it!

So the next time you hear Merry Xmas!  You can say in your best Greek “Efcharisto!”  Thank You and a healthy and happy January 1st to you too.

Thank you, Adam, and a healthy and happy New Year to you too…!


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Categories: Christianity

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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One Comment on “Guess What? (Guest blog!) You can’t take the Christ out of Christmas…!”

  1. sandi
    December 16, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    Accent? New Yorkers have an accent?

    I’m so glad Adam clarified the origins of “Xmas.” It’s not leaving Christ out so much as writing Greek. Appreciate the generous sharing and the overall joyful tone of your blog.

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