We are coming close to the end of yet another year and just like that 2016 will be gone. Once again it will take time to adjust our minds to the new year and some people (am not saying me), will still be using 2016 when writing dates. I don’t know about you but this year has passed by really fast. January feels like it was just the other day.

Speaking of 2016 coming to an end, Christmas is here with us (can I get some shouts in the house) and everyone is infected by the Christmas fever. There is a feeling that comes with Christmas that is unavoidable. Can you feel it? I do not know the plans you have for tomorrow but you have to admit that you are excited about Christmas.

Today’s blog post is by a good friend of mine called Jimmy Nzioki. I have had the privilege of knowing him for the past six years. Jimmy Nzioki is an author and a very good writer. In the following article he has shared about the origin of Christmas and addresses some contentious issues that arise about Christmas.

However, you should note that the emphasis of this blog post is that Christ is the reason for the season. Therefore, our energies and focus should not be on some of the issues like “why Christmas and not X-mas or vice-versa” but on glorifying God during this season. Happy reading!

The King’s Titles

It is Christmas once more and more beautifully it falls on a Sunday- how much sweeter can it get than that? Therein lies the first bone of contention all over history concerning Christmas; the day of its celebration. In AD 350, Pope Julius I, Bishop of Rome, proclaimed December 25th the official celebration date for Christ’s birthday but before then there were already other pagan festivals in place on that same date. Of course this didn’t work out so well for the early American Puritans of Massachusetts later on in the 16th Century who enacted a law in 1659 that made it illegal to celebrate Christmas. The law carried a punishment of five shillings. Trying to solve the puzzle for Christ’s actual birth-date many theologians have wound up placing it all over the calendar with most of them suggesting sometime in September between 6BC and 30AD.

Next is the issue of the use of the word “X-mas” or “X-mass” in the place of Christmas. I honestly must admit that I was one of those people who felt an inward smoldering whenever someone would use the substitute word for Christmas. However, until recently I stumbled on something interesting concerning the use of the word. Christmas is a contraction of “Christ’s Mass,” which is derived from the Old English Cristes maesse (first recorded in 1038). The letter ‘X’ in Greek is the first letter of Christ, and “X-mass” has been used as an abbreviation for Christmas since the mid-1500s. According to “From Adam Apple to Xmas: An Essential Vocabulary Guide for the Politically Correct,” the word “Christianity” was spelled “Xianity” as far back as 1101 as a symbolic syllable for “Christ”. The syllable became ‘X’temmas’ in 1551 and was eventually shortened to “Xmas”.

Knowing that Xmas can also mean Christmas; but it should be pronounced ‘Christmas’ rather than ‘ex-mas’ brings with it some sobriety. This shows that though businesses try hard to attract non-Christian customers by removing Christ out of the picture most probably they’ve no idea that they’re actually doing the opposite. So before you go out disparagingly condemning that non-Christian friend of yours who sent you a post that ended with the phrase “Happy X-mas” you could bring him to the know by telling him the history of the word and how the first letter of the Greek word Christos is transliterated into our alphabet as an X. Trust me it will work out better for the both of you. All in all, we can all agree that Christmas is by far a greater rendition than X-mas as you’ll see once you finish reading this today.

The other universally unchallenged thing about Christmas is that it’s a day of giving. The English actually call it Thanksgiving- a day of gratuity and giving. For the true Christian this is probably derived from the act of “The Magi” or “Wise Men from the East” and to some extent even the Shepherds. As a side-note, there’s no record in scripture of having been three wise-men, what we do know is that there were three gifts! Anyways back to our discussion, giving has been and will always be the greatest virtue of Christmas- this even transcends giving among individuals and groups to even entire nations. Unknown to many (even me before this month) the biggest Christmas gift ever was the Statue of Liberty. The French gave it to the United States in 1886. The 152.5 feet (46m) tall, 225-ton Lady Liberty quickly became a symbol of freedom, welcoming immigrants to New York.

To sum up on the above discussion let me point out that our energies and focus shouldn’t be on the detractors like: why not call it “happy holidays” to suit everyone instead of Christmas which has a Christian connotation or “if Christmas fell on a working day/weekend it will be more/less enjoyable” or even the touchy topic of “why Christmas and not X-mas or vice-versa”. Dwelling too much on these can suck the joy of Christmas and I believe that’s the exact opposite of what a birthday is supposed to mean, especially the unique birth of our Savior and Lord Christ Jesus.

To echo the words of C.S. Lewis that “The Son of God became a man so that men could become the sons of God,” should lead you to appreciate why Christ had to leave all his glorious splendor and come and be as we are- it goes beyond just identification with sinful man, it’s a great show of selflessness and humility.

Admittedly, it’s easy to get lost in countless myths, legends and facts on Christmas. My appeal for today is on two things: Christ himself and his kingly titles secretly embedded in the phrase “Merry Christmas.” It’s interesting to note that God is the ultimate giver as He sent the world the perfect gift wrapped in Flesh in the form of His dearly beloved son that is Christ Jesus. This is encapsulated in John 3:16. Furthermore, The Giver is also the Gift.

Why say that the phrase “Merry Christmas” is a list of kingly titles for our Savior? Well let’s have a look at this awesome acronym:

  • M-Mighty God {Isaiah 9:6}
  • E-Everlasting Father {Isaiah 9:6}
  • R-Righteous God {Psalm 119:137}
  • R-Rose of Sharon {Songs of Songs 2:1}
  • Y-Yahweh {Exodus 3:14}
  • C- Chief Cornerstone {Ephesians 2:10}
  • H- High Priest {Hebrews 6:20}
  • R- Redeemer {Job 9:25}
  • Immanuel {Matthew 1:23}
  • S-Savior {John 4:42}
  • T-The Resurrection & The Life {John 11:25}
  • M-Messiah {Daniel 9:25}
  • A-Anchor {Hebrews 6:19}
  • S-Son of God {Matthew 14:33}

Having proved to you that the phrase “Merry Christmas” actually has titles to the reason for the season, I can happily tell you that the most famous and popular Christmas song is “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and since the original composer is unknown I can as well tweak it without fear of a legal suit and say “I Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”