I'm a nit-picker.
Here is a picture of me picking nits.
But, I am an expert, and it irritates me when I see novice and amateurish nit-pickers picking at the wrong nit.
Every year at this time we are stricken by the misguided protests of over-zealous Christians decrying the Pagans attempt to "X" Christ our of Christmas.
But the protester's objection is based on misinformation and though proffered with good intent, it is not well-taken or actually meaningful.
Christmas time, all around the world, is the universal season when more people on the planet are thinking and talking about Jesus than at any other time. Whether they are Christian, Atheists, or Jews - this is the case. Many are just seeking the materialism and gift-receiving of the holiday (and it IS a holy-day) and are totally insincere about celebrating the Birth of the Savior. But millions have Jesus on their minds and in their faces - during Christmas.
Just ask any angry Atheist, he will tell you that the above statement is undeniably true.
The Pagan and the Atheist join arms in the Yuletide and try their damnedest (and I DO mean damnedest) to obliterate all trees, lights, gifts, mangers, and children's movies from the face of the globe. They are like Herod incarnate.
But every year, there are more and more signs of the growth and health of the Christian Faith, and particularly the story of the coming of God in the Flesh.
But invariably, the amateur nit-picker will see the word "XMas" somewhere and go ballistic.
The world is trying to take Christ out of Christ-mas.
They are X-ing Him out.
As I have already clearly stated - that is their mission!
They might be minimally satisfied if they could continue to have all of the wonderful things ABOUT Christmas - without any mention or thought of the Christ.
But that is NOT what Xmas is about.
Xmas is just an abbreviation for Christmas.
Howbeit and inappropriate abbreviation - but a simple abbreviation, nonetheless.
Though Gd, Ld, and Js might be acceptable abbreviations for God, Lord, and Jesus - you're only going to make people mad if you use them because it would be inappropriate. Now if your whole point in conversation and communication is simply to stir people up and make them angry, then go right ahead. You're doing fine.
But if you talk, or speak, write, or communicate in some other way to persuade, influence, or inform, then you might want to choose more carefully.
The Greek word that is used in the New Testament for Christ is Christos (Xristos). The X, or the greek letter Xhi is the first letter in the title Christ. So Xmas - is still Christmas. It is not a crossing out, but an abbreviation. Don't get upset. Don't be angry. The store owner may or may NOT be campaigning to end Christianity, he may just be using a shortened form of the word.
Either way --- how do you feel about the "mas" part?
You see -- Christmas -- is Christ's Mass.
Now if you are a Roman Catholic Christian, or a Greek Orthodox Christian, then you will have no problem with the "mas" part of the word Christmas.
Now stand back and watch an expert nit-picker at work!
I have no objection at all for someone or anyone abbreviating the word Christmas by using the grammatically correct form of Xmas. But I DO have a Theological issue with any celebration or observance of Mass.
The Roman Catholic Church and all of its parishes around the world observe a Holy Mass at midnight on Christmas Eve. It is Christ's Mass -- this is the origin of our word Christmas.
I am a Christian -- but of the Southern Baptist variety.
That means that historically and theologically, I am a Protestant.
Now there are many Christians who do not consider Christianity to be a religion. They do not associate themselves with any formal, organized group or denomination. They trace their faith lineage directly back to Jesus Himself without any connection at all to any human institution or society. I get all of that.
But I am not one of those.
I am a Protestant.
And I am not protesting the use of the word Christmas or for using a word that has the word "mas" in it -- I'm just nit-picking THIS, because I think that it is silly to make an issue out of the Xmas thing.
During the Mass, the Priest is LITERALLY recreating the crucifixion of Jesus.
The Priest is at a literal Altar and is physically and metaphysically sacrificing the body and blood of Jesus -- every time a Mass is performed. Jesus must die over, and over, and over again because mankind continues in sin and Christ's death must be perpetuated and repeated in order to be effective.
Transubstantiation is the Roman Catholic doctrine that teaches that when the Priest elevates the Host (lifts the cup), the wine contained in it is literally, miraculously changed into the actual blood of Jesus. The wafers (bread) are transformed into the flesh of Jesus.
This is a major point that Protestants protested against when we departed from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation. We have rejected the teaching of Transubstantiation.
Our point of protest is that Jesus needed only to die ONCE for his eternal sacrifice to be forever sufficient for the sins of all humanity for all time.
We do not believe that anything magical, mysterious, metaphysical or miraculous takes place during the observance of Communion (what we call The Lord's Supper). We believe that the wine and the bread are symbols - and that the Communion is a symbolic observance, an ordinance, and NOT a Sacrament (a sacrifice).
Serving the elements of The Lord's Supper does not convey Grace or Commute Sin. It does not transfer a Holy Indulgence to the believer nor does it imbue any spiritual efficacy upon him or her.
So -- Xmas -- I really don't have a problem.
Mas? Hmmm, I got some REAL problems with that.