Thursday, December 20, 2018

Keep Christ in Christmas

Image source: Napoli Unplugged

Back in 2015 when Starbucks decided to make plain red cups for Christmas, many Christians were enraged. They believed that Starbucks changed the cups because it hated Jesus. This further exacerbated the belief some Christians have that the world is plotting to take Christ out of Christmas. The mantra, “Keep Christ in Christmas” has been around even before Starbucks’ plain red cup. And the way to “Keep Christ in Christmas” for many Christians seems to be insisting on saying “Merry Christmas,” and resisting the use of “Merry Xmas” and “Happy Holiday.” But here’s the question, would we really lose Christmas to the secular world by writing “Merry Xmas” and saying “Happy Holiday,” instead of “Merry Christmas”?
Source: Chi-Rho on a 4th-century
altar, Khirbet Um El’Amad, Algeria

“Xmas” and “Holiday”
First, technically speaking, both “Xmas” and “Holiday” are not any less Christian than the word “Christmas”. The “X” in Xmas is actually a symbol often used in ancient Rome to refer to Christ or the Christians, both because “X” is the first letter in the Greek word “Χριστός,” which means exactly “Christ” in Greek, and because “X” reminds the ancient Roman Christians of the cross. Whereas, the word “Holiday” comes from the old English word “hāligdæg.” It is a compound word of “hālig” means holy, and “dæg” means day. And it referred to religious, usually Christian, commemorations.

Second, Jesus or any other biblical symbols has never been used on the Starbucks Christmas/Holiday cups in the first place. It has always been reindeer, snowman, ornaments, snowflakes and drawings of happy looking people on their cups. These symbols have nothing to do with Jesus and his birthday. If Christmas is lost to anything, it is lost to American’s commercialism that commercialized Christmas. Christmas has become this huge shopping season, when people are expecting luxurious gifts, beautiful Christmas trees and dazzling decorations everywhere. If anything, it is American’s commercialized Christmas that Starbucks cups reflect.

In addition, Starbucks has never claimed to be a Christian company. Why do we lay upon Starbucks or any secular corporate and individuals the burden of keeping Christ in Christmas?

Keep Christ in Christmas
It is and has always been the Christians’ responsibility to keep Christ in Christmas. And doing it by insist on saying “Merry Christmas” is simply not enough, and not good enough. There is in fact a lot more that we can do to make sure Christ will remain in the center of Christmas. For a starter, we as Christians are to be like Christ in this Christmas season. Christ should be kept in Christmas through our words and deeds.

In this Christmas season, let us be mindful of Jesus’ teachings, such as the greatest commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39). Except for all the gifts that we are buying for our loved ones, are there people around us that are in need? Christmas is a good time to give and to care for others in the name of Christ. Furthermore, instead of demanding people of different cultural and religious backgrounds to observe the holiday the way Christians would, let us show love and respect, and most importantly, pray for the ones you disagree with, just as Jesus taught in Matthew 5:43-48.

There are so many more wonderful teachings of Jesus in the Bible, and I trust that you know your Bible, so I will not name them all here. But I think we are off to a great start if we could just do these two teachings of Jesus this Christmas season. The birth of Jesus provided a means for God and sinners to reconcile, and that’s why it is indeed a joy to the world. Let’s make sure that the world will perceive the good and joy of this news through our representation of our Lord.

Merry Xmas and Happy Holiday to you and your loved ones!

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