Christmas is likely the most diverse celebration in all the world. It is celebrated in one form or another in every country of the world. It has the longest known history of any holiday. So it comes as a surprise that when most people are surveyed about the common things of Christmas – they get it wrong.
Here are the top five things you’re getting wrong about Christmas.
Atheists and Non-Christians Don’t Celebrate Christmas
Yes, they do – more than half of them according to a LifeWay Research poll from 2010. 90 percent of agnostics and 62 percent of Muslims, Jews and folks of faiths other than Christianity celebrate Christmas. Books have been written about the subject. Christmas is famously secular in modern society and because there are some vocal critics who claim to represent atheists relatively few who claim faithlessness belong to any kind of organized group and tend to go their own way when it comes to Christmas.
Xmas is the Lazy Way to Say Christmas
No, it isn’t. “X” is the Greek letter representing Christ and in ancient writing Christmas was always represented this way. Like all things culturally the “Xmas” spelling of Christmas has melded with other cultural anomalies of Christmas to just become an accepted part of it. There is nothing remotely offensive about it.
Happy Holidays is the Politically Correct Way to Say Merry Christmas
This is probably the whopper of all the errors of Christmas. Entire campaigns are launched on social media trying to get Christians to avoid saying Happy Holidays as a substitution for Merry Christmas because of the belief it is a politically correct substitute. The word “holiday” is a derivative of the term “holy days”. It in fact may be more religiously significant than the phrase “Merry Christmas”. The word “merry” in some cultures suggests drunkenness.
There were Three Wise Men
Celebrated on stage, in song and in scripture the wise men of the Nativity actually had no known number. Most assume there were three because the Bible lists the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh as being brought to the Christ Child. But in actuality the real number of wise men is never disclosed and historians have long suggested there could have been more.
Christmas Wasn’t Celebrated Before Christ
This one even gets repeated by media types, scholars and historians. Christmas was long celebrated before Christ. Ever hear the words “For unto us a child is born”? Most recognize that from Handel’s Messiah. Handel took those words from the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament of the Bible, words written some five centuries before Christ. For nearly 4000 years of recorded history before Christ the anticipation and celebration of His birth is well noted.
Christmas is understood by most on modern terms and is continually redefined by how peoples and cultures of today celebrate it. But its roots and its history are ancient. Many of the iconic elements of the season – everything from mistletoe to Christmas trees to eggnog – have ancient roots that represent something far different from what they symbolize for people today.
This is why there are constant debates about Christmas.
The savvy Christmas fan celebrates past and present of Christmas and looks for ways to make what is old meaningful again.