Hark, a holiday!
Listen, I want to clarify a little something about the current festivities.
If you have a heart condition, 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 the good man credit where credit is due, Jesus is the reason for Christmas.
(However, there’s only a 365.25% chance that Jesus was actually born on December 25th—there are beaucoups of theories as to the season, month, date, and even the year that he was born. That’s right, fine people of the internet, the early historians didn’t fact-check their mess to the extent that we do nowadays.)
Wait, there’s more
And while I’m being all specific about this, I’d like to point out that 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.
So go ahead and wish people all the “Happy Holidays” (which literally means Happy Holy Days, so isn’t that nice?) and “Season’s Greetings” you want. Yeah, you might run the risk of offending someone who has thin religious skin, but maybe you could strike up a conversation with them. Hell, I don’t know what you should do, I’m just supplying the info.
Come Christmas day, you can accurately start in on “Merry Christmas” if you want to, and if you want to be all Old Christmas about it, keep saying that through January 6th. But shoot, say it from now till June if you want—Jesus won’t mind.
Here’s what that long-ass song is about
The twelve days from December 25th through January 6th are the much-sung-about twelve days 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 twelve days after the blessed event.
Which is why some Christmas celebrators like Catholics, Episcopalians, and Orthodox Christians aren’t done with Christmas on December 25th just because the presents are all opened by 10 a.m. and the house is a wreck and December 26th has all those good after-Christmas sales.
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.
Which is why I’m telling you this. Bottom line: The winter solstice is the reason for the season, and Christmas is one of the celebrations wrapped up in the season.
People are just trying to be nice
Look, it’s just tiring when folks get defensive about the nice things people say to one another. No one, and I really do mean no one, is setting out this time of year to offend someone by smiling and saying something that’s not “Merry Christmas.” The mean people will be more like, “Fuck you,” or something, so they’re pretty easy to spot.
(And some of them may not even be all that mean—maybe they’re just really, really sad and miss their mama who passed away last year, or something.)
Nice people like us will generally say something nice. There is no war on Christmas, other than the grotesque commercialization and capitalization of a religious event, I mean. And people starting a war where there is none, I also mean.
Trifling, I tell you, trifling
I swear to God, it’s trifling to get your knickers in a knot over shit like this.
Don’t fall for it, y’all.
This is a fucking hard time of year for a whole lot of people, and the last thing we all need is a bunch of thin-skinned, micro-managing, hyper-religious chicken littles lashing out, accusing perfectly kind people of being “PC” (politically correct, in case you forgot about this stupid phrase) for saying something nice. To those folks I say, you’re the ones making up a war, so stop it.
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,” or something like that, 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 you.”
I could have chosen my words better, but why should I? He couldn’t see fit to just say, “Thank you”?
Don’t be like that kid.
One more Xmas-y tidbit for ya’
Oh, and one more bonus thing you may or may not want to know, but I kinda like.
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, it doesn’t.
The “X” stands for the first letter in the Greek word for Christ, Greek being the language the New Testament was written in. This is what it looks like in Greek: Χριστός. It’s pronounced sort of like “Christos.”
In other words, Xmas is a legitimate abbreviation, and Jesus doesn’t mind it.
Happy Holy Days to you and yours.
May all your 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.