Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas vs. Xmas

My entire life I've seen and accepted the abbreviated version of Christmas marked "xmas". I never really thought much about it until I realized somewhere that the "x" was actually replacing the word "Christ". I don't know how I never realized it but someone somewhere told me it was so. I vowed never to do it again and if I felt I needed to abbreviate it I did so by replacing "mas" with the "x". Made more sense to me. I want to keep Christ in Christmas in more ways than one.

I've seen a lot of debate about the use of "xmas" lately. It seems to be a hot topic among Christians and non-Christians alike. And it's no wonder. In today's politically correct climate of saying the right thing so as not to offend, I think it is admirable that many of us want to make sure our Lord is not forgotten during this season. A fellow Christian recording artist I know has apparently been getting a bit of flack for using the term "xmas". I've seen him defend his position on twitter a couple of times. Something about "X" being some Greek letter for the first letter of "Christ". I don't know. Didn't really follow it. I just knew it sent a little shiver up my spine when I saw "xmas". Still, this man, whose walk with the Lord I greatly respect, didn't seem to have a problem with the abbreviation and apparently had good reasons why. It made me want to know more about his position.

After I tweeted something using the abbreviation "Christx", one of my followers (thx mumof3boyz) sent me a link to this article about the use of "x" for "Christ". Now I understood! I've heard of a Jewish custom that admonishes one to not say the name of God out of reverence (like "G_d" or even "I AM". This seems to be similar in thought. I've also recently heard of the "x" representing the cross that Jesus died on for our salvation.

What I've reconciled in my mind is that for some, xmas is simply tradition that many don't give a second thought to, for some it is out of reverence, for some it offends. Because I don't have the ability to divine people's motives, I dare not judge either way. I choose to walk out my convictions in love. Romans 14 puts it better than I can. Check it out in The Message here. Whether the dispute is about the right foods to eat, the right days to celebrate, or the right way to refer to "Christmas", let's not cause our Christian brothers to stumble by forcing our our convictions on disputable matters on each other. If you call Jesus "Lord", you are my brother. That is the issue of salvation. The rest of it that causes many to argue and fuss, we'll finally figure out in eternity.

For me, what is more important during this season is that I remember why I celebrate Christmas. I love the time with my family. I like giving and getting gifts. I look forward to watching "It's a Wonderful Life", "A Christmas Carol", and "Miracle on 34th Street" every year. I never tire of singing "Jingle Bells", "Deck the Halls", and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". But may I never ever forget that Christmas celebrates the birth of the most important person in my life. 

I love birthdays. I try to tell my family and friends how much they mean to me on their birthday. I give them gifts, but more importantly I make it a point to tell them the impact they have had on me. How I couldn't imagine my life without them in it. How I cherish the times we have spent together. In the end I want them to know that I am glad they were born.

How much more should I tell this to the man who saved my life? Who gave me purpose, hope, and joy? Who set me free (in more ways than one)! The man who came in a way that no one expected? He does that a lot doesn't He? People were looking for a man mighty in stature and wealth. He came in the form of a baby in a lowly manger. But shepherds, wise men, even animals recognized his deity. And so do I. Jesus Christ is Lord. I respect Him. I revere Him. I honor Him. I adore Him. And THAT is what Christmas means to me....but I'm still gonna say "Christx"!  It's tradition!

Happy birthday Jesus!
Merry Christmas all!