Respecting Christmas

Christmas has always been important to me. I sure that I’m not alone in this. My fondness for it helps explain why I become grouchy when this joyful, sacred season is abused.

Followers of Jesus Christ and his teachings identify themselves as “Christian.” This makes sense. I have never heard anyone say they are “Eksjen,” which is my feeble attempt to spell out how X-ian would sound if spoken. No one says this, yet we freely use the shortcut “Xmas” in writing to mean Christmas. This offends me.

Defenders of using the word Xmas argue that the X is not disrespectful of Christ or Christian belief but that in fact it comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the word Christos, which translates to Christ in English. Oh.

X is versatile. An X can also mean a kiss. People who can’t write their names use X as a substitute for their signature. Why don’t we just use the word Christmas when we mean Christmas?

The music of this happy season delights millions of us throughout the world. Musicians, both singers and instrumentalists, love this time of year. So much beautiful music has been written celebrating Christmas and its message. Ordinary folks like you and me happily sing Christmas carols and enjoy hearing them performed by others.

But let’s be clear. Many songs of this season are not carols. A carol, the respected Cambridge English Dictionary tells us, is a traditional or religious song that people sing at Christmas. Traditional or religious? A song about a reindeer with a red nose fails to meet this definition. Songs about Santa? Nope. Two front teeth, silver bells, roasting chestnuts, snow. Sorry.

Some advertisers can’t resist abusing otherwise fine Christmas season music by altering lyrics to sell cars, pizza, disgustingly overloaded hamburgers. Even familiar strains from a famous ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky are used to sell products, chosen, one suspects, to drape the product in the legitimacy of classical music.

My frustrations boil down to this. Christmas in wonderful. Like you, I love it. Let’s respect the season and those who believe in its message and celebrate it.

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