This year I thought I’d take a few minutes early in the season to get the crabbiness out of the way so I can go ahead and merely roll my eyes at holiday annoyances. Now that I’m no longer on retail front lines I don’t actually hate the whole season anymore, I just find it odd that the people who seem the most unhappy are those that try so hard to force cheer and /or complain that the season has changed: the “it wasn’t like this when…” crowd. To them I say, yes it was. Newspaper articles in the 1940′s, 20s, 1880s all complain that things are changing too fast. Of course stores seem busier, more crowded, more selling-focused than when you were a kid and still thought it was all magic, you didn’t have to perform the magic then. Go watch Miracle on 34th Street for some perspective on commercialization.
“Xmas” is not a modern attempt to “take Christ out of Christmas”
A still common visual representation of the name of Christ is the
the “chi rho” [kai row]“X” is actually from the Greek letter “chi” the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός which comes into English as “Christ.” Around 1020 c.e. Christmas was written as “Xp̄es mæsse” in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle . The OED and the Supplement have referred of “X-” or “Xp-” for “Christ-” from about 1485. The OED further cites usage of “Xtianity” for “Christianity” from 1634. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, most of the evidence for these words comes from “educated Englishmen who knew their Greek”. While not considered appropriate for literary writing, we know that “Xmas” was in regular use in as of 1753 and was quite common in the 19th century as evidenced by the use in correspondence by such figures as Lord Bryon, Samuel Coleridge and Lewis Carroll. (Admittedly Byron probably isn’t quite an exemplary Christian, but his use of language certainly is)
Band Aid’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas”
Here are just a few of the lowlights of this deeply offensive song
But say a prayer. Pray for the other ones. Prayers can’t hurt, but I’ll give to Heifer International, too. And, please tell me why we are calling them “others” instead of “brothers”
Tonight thank God it’s them instead of you. You’re a real jerk to be glad of someone else’s suffering and death enough to thank god for it!
There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas. Sure there will be. There are even a few ski resorts in Morocco. Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya have permanent glaciers. The Rwenzori and the Seiman mountains also get snow regularly. Of course South Africa won’t, but neither will Australia or Brazil, ‘cause they’re in the southern hemisphere and at the height of summer.
Where nothing ever grows /No rain or rivers flow. Africa is one heck of a big continent. The have some rivers; maybe you’ve heard of the Nile? The Congo? The Niger? There’s lots of agriculture, there’s also lots of deserts, mountains.
Here’s to you raise a glass for everyone/ Here’s to them underneath that burning sun No, thanks, I’ll go do some actual help instead of posing and posturing. You go have fun thinking you’re special and have a music video and I’ll see if Mercy Corps could use a hand.
Do they know it’s Christmas time at all? A full third of Africa is Muslim, another twenty percent are adherents of non-Christian religions. Do you know when it’s Eid? Diwali? Ridwan? Please stop your cultural imperialism.
The Christmas season doesn’t start with Thanksgiving, unless you’ve already chosen to think of it as a secular observance.
For those that complain that Christmas is coming earlier and earlier, 100 years ago the same complaint was put forth. A century ago the complaint was that the holiday was beginning with the secular observance of Thanksgiving instead of, as then viewed proper, with the beginning of advent, the forth Sunday before Christmas. Advent was a time of fasting and penitence, as in lent, not of opening small presents for almost a month before Christmas Day. Even earlier, the period of advent and penance was the 40 days from St Martin’s Day, but that began to be truncated by the time of the Reformation. This all means, technically, the Christmas season should start on Christmas Day itself!
Which brings us to the “Twelve Days” of Christmas, which are after Christmas. Hold on to those partridges, drummers and maids! The 12 days are the days between Christmas and Epiphany. Here’s where you do get to make complaints about the secularization of society. For most of the history of Christianity, and still in many parts of the world, Epiphany was a much bigger deal then Christmas was, ranking after Easter and Pentecost so the lead up to epiphany was one of great joy, (in direct opposition to the penance of advent, see above) . This is also why Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day, because after that day there would be no time for the servants to rest, and they had to be at full strength for all the entertaining in the following week and a half. So, please stop your twelve days of Christmas sales that begin mid December.
With all this gotten out of the way, I wish you, yours, and the whole world the most peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving, Haunakah, Yule, Feast of LisaMary, Christmas & New Year. May you all find the magic this season!