Monday, December 7, 2009

Keeping the 'X' in Xmas

When it comes to Advent, I have never really experienced such a general blanket of misunderstandings concerning something that so many people confidently believe they know.  The more years I teach on advent and the birth of Jesus, the more I realize that the majority of Christians not only aren't sure what advent is really about, we also haven't the faintest clue about what the Bible really narrates about the birth of Jesus.

I will begin writing a series of posts concerning the season of Advent and the birth narratives of Jesus according to the Gospels.  I am really looking forward to writing these so please keep reading!

But first - here's something I wrote (with a couple revisions) and posted on facebook on December 14, 2006.

Okay, you caught me, and yes, I am guilty. I am one of “those people" who writes X-Mas instead of Christmas. Now, before I am thrown to the dogs of blasphemy and heresy, I feel compelled to make my case. You see when people write X-Mas, they are not “taking Christ out of Christmas". Instead, this is actually a Greek X (Chi) which is the first letter (or initial ) of Christ in Greek; Christos, meaning “anointed". Thus, we both are keeping Christ in Christmas. The Church uses initials as symbols like this quite frequently, like the IHS that can be found sporadically throughout our own sanctuary. These are the first three Roman transliterations of Jesus’ name in Greek; Ἰησοῦς (iota, eta, sigma).

This Advent, I pray we as the body of Christ can focus on what is important to the season, even if this means halting the quarrel between those who sign Merry Christmas versus Merry X-Mas. I fully agree, let us keep Christ in Christmas, but let us do so understanding that this means offering patience and love towards our neighbors, as Christ would have wanted us to.  And, in keeping Christ in Christmas, this has nothing to do with giving gifts, trees with glass ornaments, or who has the most lights in the neighborhood.  It's time to remember and be changed by the fact that...

God is with us.