Elise Gallagher is encouraged by the growing backlash against the use of the term ‘Xmas’
Increasingly I am starting to wonder exactly who likes and uses the short form ‘Xmas’ instead of that ever so longwinded word Christmas. I used to think it was one of many secularizations of Christmas tradition that was accepted, like putting up your Christmas tree in November and taking it down on Boxing Day, or referring to the period between 13 December and Christmas Day as the Twelve Days of Christmas. But it would appear that most people, well the ones in the country’s press anyway, are battling against this so-called bastardization.
I remember wanting to cry with joy when I heard Chris Moyles last year on the Radio 1 breakfast show berating someone for ‘leaving the Christ out the word Christmas’; his reasoning that the secular world had dug its claws deep enough into the Christian festival without the name being compromised as well. My heart swelled further when last year I read a Guardian blogger give an almost perfect score to a festive sandwich but decide against it due to it being named an Xmas treat. Quite right too.
I understand perfectly that Christmas does not just belong to the religious among us any more and I suppose 25 December is the nearest we are ever going to get to getting raging atheists to Mass but where’s the line? A few years ago, a good friend of mine from university gave me a bag of home-baked festive goodies as my present. Brownies, chestnut madeleines and pumpkin slices, all beautifully wrapped in cellophane and tied with lovely ribbon, then placed in a parcel bag depicting a wonderfully snowy landscape and on it written ‘Winter Wishes’. If I have one regret in life, it is ever taking that bag home and letting my Dad see it. Any hope of him exclaiming how lovely my friend was disappeared when the words ‘Winter Wishes’ caught his eye.
United in love
It would seem that the country divides into two when it comes to spreading Christmas cheer; those who wish a Merry Christmas and those who avoid the word Christmas at all costs including the Christ-less Xmas. It gives me hope to think that many who would not consider themselves Christians cannot bear the thought of removing the religious element from Christmas. It would seem that the little baby, wrapped in swaddling bands, lying in a manger, accompanied by his faithful and loving mother and father, and framed by an ox and ass (not a lobster as Love Actually would hilariously have you believe), evokes emotion and some deep-rooted feeling that a child was sent to show love, spread joy and in the end save us from ourselves.
Ultimately, whether you use an X or Christ, this Mass is still being celebrated throughout the world by millions of people who come together on 25 December to be happy and spread love.
Whatever wishes they give one another, why not just give thanks to God that Christ’s birth lead to a world where for at least one day the most part of the population makes an effort to unite in love, rather than divide itself with hate. ND