myself, have been misinformed for long years about the supposed disrespect of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, by referring to the celebration of his birth with the term "Xmas." The X actually represents the letter "chi", which stands for the first letter of Christ when written in Greek as "Christos," and the name of Christ had previously been abbreviated as "X" for 1000 years. The X has always been used in ancient religious contexts and examples of it's use can be found in the "Book of Kells," the ninth century illuminated gospels.
Now, finally ... to Xmas past! I'm sure that those who are older than me, remember it in even a much different and maybe "better" way, than I do. I can reference back from the late 1950's, until now and I have steadily seen, year after year, a decline in what I used to know as Christmas spirit and good-natured feelings toward others. Of course, Xmas was originally intended to be, and still is, a celebration of the birth of Christ. Then somewhere before my time, Father Xmas, Kris Kringle, St. Nicholas and Santa Claus became a part of "The Season."
Over the years, there has been constant criticism about how Xmas has become so commercialized and also how the gift giving and Santa has been disrespectful of Christ ... the "true" meaning of Christmas. But I have always said that "Xmas is the one time of the year when we, as families and humans, seem to lay all our troubles and differences aside. We give gifts to each other in expressions of our love for each other and we are a little kinder to each other ... even strangers walking by, as we shop for our gifts. God gave to us the greatest gift that could ever be given, when he gave Jesus Christ to our world as our Savior! While we can never equal His gift, we can bring our gifts to each other, in the spirit of the Love that God showed for us!
In Xmases Past, It was "beginning to feel a lot like Xmas" in late November and more so the 1st week of December when stores would put up their Xmas decorations and then the 2nd week of December, when most folks would decorate their homes. Then the shopping began and the air was a bit more frosty; Xmas music played everywhere and people selling and shopping in stores were wishing each other, "Merry Xmas" and even if you didn't know someone ... you'd wish'em a "Merry One," too!
There would be Xmas carols sung in church and sung in schools. There would be neighbors and strangers stopping at houses, to sing Xmas carols .. and they would be invited in for hot cider and cookies. Things were truly merry and bright! Stores used to be closed on Xmas Day, so that employees could be home with their families ... Except for Bob Cratchit! I realize that times have changed tremendously. People travel on Xmas Day and they need services like food and gas and healthcare, etc. And some folks don't have a special place to be on Xmas Day and they need somewhere to go, like a restaurant. But, we used to know that the stores would be closed and we got what we needed before Xmas Day! Do these merchants think that we won't purchase their goods and then come back after Xmas , to buy some more ?
The part that really bothers me is the way that Xmas has been crammed down our throats earlier and earlier each year. This year, Wal-Mart began putting Xmas decorations on their shelves in the middle of September!
Proffitt's started decorating their stores the next week. I asked a sales clerk, "Have I fallen asleep and missed Halloween and Thanksgiving and it's Xmas already? She said, no ... we have to do this to compete with Wal - Mart! I told a Wal-Mart employee that I thought it was ridiculous that they were putting Xmas out so early and they agreed and also told me that even though their store is closed on Xmas Day ... many of the employees have to come in to work, to take down Xmas decorations.
I wonder what happened to all that Xmas spirit that was so plentiful in September? I have, in the past, shopped regularly at Wal-Mart, but enough is enough!
People, we have been robbed of our Xmas spirit! By the time December even arrives, we are already so sick of Xmas that we can't wait for it to be over and gone. We have allowed the retail world to do this to us and I have been just as guilty as the next person, by participating in the early shopping frenzy, myself! Christmas PAST will never completely return, but if we could only capture a bit of it here and there, perhaps it would make a difference. Maybe we would have those warm feelings again and wish each other Merry Xmas ... or if you HAVE to be politically correct ... "Happy Holidays!"
Do you think we could feel Joy in our hearts when we hear "Silver Bells" (if someone would play it again). and, maybe employers would start closing their stores so that their employees could spend all of Xmas Day with their families and loved ones ... if we would stop shopping at their stores on Xmas Day, or in Wal- Mart's case, penalize them the day after Xmas; maybe 2 days. Do you think they would ever get the message? We won't know until we do our part to cause it!
My son is 31 years old (1972). His generation and those after him have never experienced a Xmas past like some of us have known. If we don't attempt to show them what it could be like, who will show them?
It's not all about tons of packages under the tree and going hundreds or thousands of dollars in debt. It's not about a shopping rat race, fighting to get in some store's front door at 6:00 AM, to get a box of Cracker Jack (not "Cracker JACKS") after standing in line since 4 or 5 AM!
It's all about being with family and friends, sharing a gift or two and some good food and time! It's about remembering the true "Reason for the Season" and teaching our young children and grandchildren about that ... A lot of children absolutely do not know!
If we could just find the Ghost of Xmas Past and bring just a little part of him to life again ... it would be the greatest Xmas present that we could ever give to ourselves!
Wishing You a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!