Hark, a holy days!
I want to clear up a little something about the December 25th-ish seasonal festivities.
If you’re especially sensitive, please take a seat before reading further.
Jesus is not the reason for the season
The winter solstice is the reason for the season.
But to give a messiah credit where credit is due, Jesus is the reason for Christmas.
“Christmas,” though, which more or less translates from various languages of old to mean Christ’s special church service, didn’t even exist until something like a thousand years after the little baby Jesus was born, which is so weird because it sure seems like he started Christmas right there in the stable that day, doesn’t it?
And then there’s only a
365.25% chance 0.2738% chance* that Jesus was actually born on December 25th anyway—there are beaucoups of theories as to the season, month, date, and even the year that he was born and why the wise Christmas deciders even picked that day from literally hundreds of choices.
That’s right, fine person of the internet, the early historians didn’t fact-check their mess like we do nowadays.
*Read the comments to see why I shouldn’t shoot from the hip when talking statistics.
Also, it’s technically not Christmas until… Christmas
Up until December 25th, it’s actually more correct to greet someone with something other than “Merry Christmas,” because it’s not actually Christmas until, well, Christmas Day.
Up until Christmas Day, it’s what the religions that made all this up in the first place call Advent, which is why Advent calendars are numbered from December 1st through the 24th.
So go ahead and wish people all the “Happy Holidays” you want—which literally means Happy Holy Days, so isn’t that nice?
Yeah, you might run the risk of offending someone who has thin religious skin, but maybe you could strike up a conversation with them and say something like, “To clarify, I’m wishing you Happy Holy Days…” and see if they’re up for that.
After all, we’re talking holy days, not even just one holy day. I mean, that’s a pretty cool way to look at it.
Come Christmas day, you can accurately start in on “Merry Christmas”—if accuracy is even all that important to you.
And if you want to be all “Old Christmas” about it, keep saying that through January 6th.
But whatever, say Merry Christmas all year long if you want to—Jesus is totally cool with all of it because that’s the kind of deity he is.
And then there’s the whole Twelve Days of Christmas thing
Christmas Day is the “First day of Christmas” and January 6th is the “Twelfth day of Christmas.” This is what that long-ass song is about.
The Twelfth day of Christmas, January 6th, is called The Epiphany, or Three Kings Day— it’s when the Wise Men showed up to see the baby Jesus lo those twelve days after the blessed event.
Which is why, just because the presents are all opened and the house is a wreck by 10 a.m., and December 26th has all those good after-Christmas sales, some Christmas celebrators like Catholics, Episcopalians, and the Greek Orthodox aren’t done with Christmas on December 25th, but actually consider “Christmas” to be just getting started.
It’s all bundled in one convenient package
See, the thing is, people all over the planet have been hopped up on the winter solstice since they started having celebrations and religions in the first place (thousands of years before the sweet little baby Jesus was a glimmer in his mama’s eye, in fact).
And the Christmas-deciders-of-old (like, a mere 1,700-ish years ago) bundled Christmas in with the winter solstice on purpose, which was a pretty good marketing decision at the time.
They did the same thing with Easter and the spring equinox, by the way.
The winter solstice is the reason for the season.
And Jesus is the reason for Christmas.
Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays
Okay, so I’m fairly certain that no one is sets out to offend someone by smiling and saying something other than “Merry Christmas.”
The mean people will be more like, “Get outta my way” or something, so they’re pretty easy to spot.
(And honestly, some of them may not even be all that mean—maybe they’re just really sad and miss their daddy who passed away this time last year. Or maybe they’ve never had any family at all, or something else that’s just hard.)
So if you ask me, there’s no war on Christmas—other than the grotesque commercialization of a religious event, I mean.
And people starting a war where there is none, I also mean.
It’s trifling, I tell you, trifling
It’s trifling to get your knickers in a knot over crap like whether or not someone says Merry Christmas.
Don’t fall for it.
Like I said—and we all know this—this is a hard time of year for a whole lot of people, maybe even you.
The last thing we all need is a bunch of thin-skinned, micro-managing sorts lashing out, accusing perfectly well meaning people of being PC (politically correct, in case you forgot about this stupid phrase) for saying something nice.
To those people, I say: you’re the ones fighting, so stop it.
Also, let’s all remember that though Christmas is a pretty big thing, it’s not the only game in town this time of year.
Also-also, I think it’s okay to say Merry Christmas even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. It sounds nice and feels nice.
And that’s not nothing.
Let’s just be nice
This whole thing reminds me of a young fella’ I worked with back in the nineties.
He was going off to college, so I wished him good luck. He responded that he didn’t believe in luck.
Then I said, “Well, okay… I wish you good fortune,” to which he responded that he didn’t believe in fortune, either.
At that point, I said to the kid, “Well, then, the hell with it.”
I could have chosen my words better, but why bother? He couldn’t see fit to just say, “Thank you”?
Don’t be like that kid.
Why be hyper-critical about nice things people say?
Whether it’s Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, or Merry Christmas, if something’s not your cup of holiday tea, just take the nice thought and move on with your day.
One more Xmas-y tidbit for ya’
So here’s one more bonus thing you may or may not want to know, but I kinda like because it’s nerdy-cool.
Maybe you’ve heard someone get testy when they see “Xmas” written instead of “Christmas” because it “takes the Christ out of Christmas”?
Well, guess what?
The “X” stands for the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Greek being the language the New Testament was written in.
This is what the Greek looks like:
It’s pronounced sort of like “Christos.”
In other words, Xmas is a legitimate abbreviation—and Jesus is not against abbreviations.
So it boils down to this
Happy Holy Days to you and yours.
May all your season’s greetings be warmly received, and may the season indeed be holy for you.
And may you find a
ten twenty dollar bill in your pocket any day now.
And may you overeat to your heart’s content and not gain an ounce during these holy days.
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