A Southern Pastor: The Meaning Of The Greeting

It is only a month until Christmas, so let’s get this out of the way: a “Happy Holidays” greeting is NOT an attack on Christmas!

Saying, “Happy Holidays!” is not an attempt to dishonor the meaning of the season, and writing, “Merry Xmas,” is not an attempt by atheists to take Christ out of Christmas. If it was, the joke would be on them.

For over 1000 years, the letter “X” has been used as an abbreviation for the word “Christ.” In Greek, “X” stands for the letter “Chi,” which is the first letter in the word “Χριστός,” which translates to “Christ” in English. And since “mas is Latin for “worship,” “Merry Xmas” literally translates to, “Happy worship of Christ.” That would be absolutely perfect on an Xmas card! And Bible scholars and theologians use the letter “X” to represent the word ‘Christ’ all the time.

Can we please just enjoy the holidays without looking for conspiracies in every holiday greeting. Saying, “Happy Holidays” is a nice sentiment which covers the many special days which happen throughout numerous faiths in the month of December, and saying “Merry Christmas,” establishes your specific Christian celebration of the season. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, or Merry Xmas are all attempts to spread friendship and joy during a blessed season. Shouldn’t that be the point?

Melanie Tubbs is a professor, pastor, mother, Mimi, and true Arkansas woman. She lives with nine cats and one dog on a quiet hill in a rural county where she pastors a church and teaches history at the local university. Her slightly addictive personality comes out in shameful Netflix binges and a massive collection of books. Vegetarian cooking, reading mountains of books for her seminary classes, and crocheting for the churches prayer shawl ministry take up most of her free time, and sharing the love of Christ forms the direction of her life. May the Peace of Christ be with You.