Monday, December 20, 2021

Celebrating Christmas Beside Xmas

A traditional X-mas gnome?
CS Lewis has a cute little essay called “Xmas and Christmas” that pretends to be a description by Herodotus of antics on the island of Niatirb.

He describes the “Exmas Rush” as the fifty days of preparation for the holiday Exmas when people scramble about buying cards and gifts the recipients don’t want and the giver can’t afford to give. In the end “the sellers of gifts no less than the purchasers become pale and weary ... so that any man who came into a Niatirbian city at this season would think some great public calamity had fallen on Niatirb.”

But some celebrate a different holiday, “Crissmas”. A religious feast centered around “a fair woman with a new-born Child”. The few who celebrate this holiday behave very differently than those who celebrate the other day.

The writer assures us the claim that Exmas and Crissmas are the same holiday “is not credible” because “it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in.”

This fun little essay presents a healthy way to look at the commercialization of Christmas. The world hasn’t ruined Christmas, for they were never celebrating it. They have their own feast day, which happens to coincide with ours — just as Christmas and Hanukkah might. They even have their own songs. As Christianity Today recently reported, the most-played Christmas hits “celebrate love, snow, and chestnuts before getting around to Christ.”

And though Exmas and the Rush can “distract the minds even of the few from sacred things,” they don’t have to.

So let the worldlings have their holiday. Do your best to step back from theirs and focus on ours. Let them worship family or capitalism or whatever it is they get on about.

We’ll focus on “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”

Image via Pixabay. Incidentally, I had to go to page 5 before I found an actual religious image when I searched for "Christmas".

No comments: