Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays

On the way to church in Agawam, a brief 40 minutes from my home in central Connecticut, I was thinking about Bultmann’s program of demythologyzing the NT.  What got me thinking of this was all the irritating foolishness that flows forth from pulpits across America that masks the truth of the Scriptures with myths about our L-rd’s birth (with respects to my Jewish and non-Jewish brothers).  I got to thinking that we really need to demythologize Xmas and our notions of His birth.  

Here is what I mean.  We are told that Jesus was born to a carpenter, in winter, on December 25th.  We are told that he shivered in the cold, and that three wise men brought him gifts.  We are further told that his family was impoverished or poor, and it seems he was also rejected in the inn, for any number of reasons.  And finally, we are told that so say Xmas takes the Christ out of Christmas.

First of all I would like to say this.  Jesus was likely not born in winter, as Luke 2 spells this out (shepherds were in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night).  That is, the weather would have been warm enough in order for shepherds to keep watch over their  flocks.  Other parts of the context, from weather.com such as 

Bethlehem has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and cold winters. Winter temperatures (mid-December to mid-March) can be cold and rainy. January is the coldest month, with temperatures ranging from 1 to 13 degree Celsius (33–55 °F). From May through September, the weather is warm and sunny. August is the hottest month, with a high of 27 degrees Celsius (81 °F). Bethlehem receives an average of 700 millimeters (27.6 in) of rainfall annually, 70% between November and January.[60]

and other places in the Bible, might, while not accounting for the warmth of this Xmas, add to the  likelihood that the Son of G-d was born on December 25th.  

Thinking of the narrator who told us over the radio that he was born in the winter, gave me some pause.

It occurs that the crowds of people in Israel at the time of empire taxation might be accounted for by the occurrence of one of the biblical feasts, when the people had just gotten done with their harvesting, and resources were at their peak. 

Sukkot, anyone? If the Word was made flesh and tabernacled among us, according to John 1:14, perhaps we are looking at the taxation of barley harvest, and surely Caesar would wait until the vats were overflowing before he took his share, which would throw the people into even more frustration, that the emperor would dare impose a duty on a festival to their G-d. Perhaps we are looking at the context of the Feast of Tabernacles, which would place the birth of Jesus in the comfortable Autumn, and have implications for the rest of the culture, who spent their time during this week in homemade booths. 

Concerning the concept of Xmas, I cannot say it better than the lead pastor of James River A/G in Springfield. This is an extremely well-thought out explanation from the desk of John Lindell.  We really need to teach the languages of Scripture in many of our churches, otherwise we have ignorant myths spread about like the notion that Jesus was born in the winter, he was born on the 25th, or the foolishness of taking the “Christ” out of Christmas. Enjoy and feel free to leave your thoughts, which would help serve as a corrective of the thoughts here.

X-mas or Christmas

With Twitter and Facebook–saying as much as you can with an economy of words has become the new challenge. Especially during the Christmas season, with only 140 characters on Twitter, you have to keep it short and on many of my posts Christmas has been written as X-mas which has caused a bit of stir.
Some have thought me disrespectful or using slang. So whether people agree with using X-mas or not, perhaps a little background on its use will at least help people understand why at the very least X-mas is not slang, disrespectful or “taking Christ out of Christmas.” I am indebted to WikiAnswers for helping me provide a concise but detailed explanation.
Writing Xmas is not slang nor is it taking Christ out of the season. In many respects, Greek is the language of Christianity–the New Testament was written in Greek and utilized the Greek alphabet. There are still traces of the Greek in symbols and phrases used today, like calling God ‘the alpha and the omega’ meaning ‘the beginning and the end’ because alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and omega is the last. It’s like calling Him the A to Z!
Another place you might see Greek symbolism used in modern western Christianity is the Ichthys or fish symbol. You’ll have seen it somewhere, it’s the classic fish shape that people sometimes use to show they’re Christian. It’s called an Ichthys because that is Greek for fish. Why a fish as a symbol of Christianity? Because ‘Ichthys’ stands for Içsous Khristos Theou Huios, Sôtçr which means “Jesus Christ God’s Son, Savior.” The ‘ch’ in Ichthys stands for Christ, and the Greek symbol used to for ‘ch’ looks a lot like an ‘X.’
Similarly, the ‘Chi-Rho’ symbol that looks like an ‘X’ superimposed over a ‘P’ is actually the Greek letters Chi (X) and Rho (P) which are the first letters in Christ’s name. This symbol, like the fish, is almost as old as the Cross symbol and can be found scratched on the walls in the early Christian Church catacombs in Rome. The coincidence that the ‘X’ Chi letter also looks like a cross resulted in the ‘X’ being adopted as an abbreviation for “Christ.”
From ancient times, Christians have used the Greek letter that looks like an ‘X’ as an abbreviation of ‘Christ.’ Therefore, ‘Christians’ is abbreviated to ‘Xians,’ ‘Christ’ is abbreviated to ‘X’ and ‘Christmas’ is abbreviated to ‘Xmas.’ This is useful when people want a shorter way of writing something and is a reminder of Christianity’s roots.
The word ‘X-mas’ should never be pronounced ‘Ex-mass’ as the ‘X’ in it is not the letter ‘X’ in our alphabet. The letter is actually the Greek letter Chi “χ” (which looks like an ‘X’) which is the first letter of the Greek word ‘Christos’ meaning ‘Christ’.” Therefore ‘X-mas’ should be pronounced simply ‘Christmas’ because that is exactly what it is.
While you may not like the use of X-mas as an abbreviation for Christmas…the ‘X’ stands for Christ…it has since the earliest of times. Christ is the reason for the season… and for everything else.
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