putting the christ in xmas

November 29, 2007

I walk into the high school band hall to find the following angrily written on the white board at the front:

“It’s Christmas, not Xmas.”

Fortunately, someone had written a “have a nice day” at the bottom. Someone else, of course. Open hostility. Open hostility toward a comment previously written there with no intent of ill means.

On the prior day, while scribbling out the rehearsal plan for the percussion class, I had written the following things on the white board at the front:

“English, Xmas, Nut”

And left it there all day. I was trying to be fast in my scribbling. I didn’t even write the whole of the word “nutcracker.”

I’ll admit, I have no internal drive to celebrate Christmas as it stands. Much of what the holiday stands for now has to do more with marketing and consumer number-crunching than anything about peace on Earth or a tiny package of joy entering into the world.

When I was younger, my mother explained to me that it wasn’t really “X-mas” but that’s how people would write it on boxes of decorations just before packing them into the attic. I took note of this, and even as I scribbled on the white board, I figured someone would not understand.

The recent rash of hostility toward the lack of Christianity in certain aspects of life bothers me. I know I live in the middle of the Southwest, where Christianity isn’t just religion, its a culture; how different is that from anywhere else in America? At the junior high where I spent most of my day, it has been abundantly clear that prayer in school will be encouraged. The teachers pray every Monday morning together in the front office. I’ve walked in on one of these. I didn’t feel ashamed of walking out again.

I remember the big debate during my high school years over whether prayer before a football game was appropriate, and while I was, at the time, avidly against Christianity as a concept, I felt people should be able to believe what they want. And now, I think of all the people I’ve seen injured on a football field, and think they should be allowed to have whatever comfort their soul needs when they end up in that much pain just trying to have a good time.

Last year at this time, the debate was whether it was appropriate to say “Merry Christmas.” I thought it was completely innane, and while I don’t celebrate it for its original intended purpose, or really even its newly found corporate purpose, I still said “Enjoy your Christmas,” to people because I felt it was important to have a good day with family, should you be able to.

Remember when it was whether the Pledge of Allegiance should have the words “under God” in it? This site details how those words weren’t added to the pledge until 1954 because the Knights of Columbus fought for it, and that the Pledge itself was written in 1892. Here, one can find all the facts necessary to prove that the Founding Fathers were neither supporting any one religion, nor belligerent to it, so the USA is really just a bunch of people who didn’t want to be bossed around anymore. I’ll leave that at that.

Evangelicism. The new Christianity.
I’ve seen Jesus Camp. Evangelical Christians are the subject. The people in this movie are the extreme. These type, and those you hear the loudest when you turn on Fox or CNN are the crazies, the idiots, the loudmouths, the assholes, and the liars. False prophets, even…perhaps. However, when the people I see everyday, and the students I work with every day, make it clear that even the slightest shortcut around the six-letter word of much debate is unacceptable, then I have a problem.

Never, in all my years, did I think being a Christian was about making sure everyone understood, in no uncertain terms, that the God of <a href=”http://www.peterpaulandmary.com/”>Peter, Paul and Mary</a> was the only god need paid attention to.



  1. Wow. Just wow.

    I have a lot to say about this, but my first impression is that you should be very, very careful. If, as you say, Christianity is a culture in your neighborhood of the U.S. (and no, it’s not that way everywhere – at least, it’s not like that in my little corner of New England), regardless of what protections the Constitution holds for you, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble as a non-Christian (or, at the very least, made to be profoundly uncomfortable). That’s not even to mention the fact that you’re gay. Now I’m going to really worry about you…

  2. I’m glad you are concerned.
    I know the world is different for me now that I’m “all growed up,” but I’ve been tip-toeing through this mess for a while, and have prided myself in the past for being mostly unrecognizable as anything but the norm.

    That said, people do get smarter as they get older, so maybe I’ll get sniffed out. But, to thine own self, and all…

  3. Hypocrites. All of ’em. They want us to put Christ back into Christmas, and they want us to take GOD out of Dammit.

    Now Goddammit, make up your bloody mind on Christmas.

    Only kidding 🙂 hehe …

  4. Ha, K… *shakes head*

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