What About Christmas

There was the founder/CEO of a company I would chat with every year who was almost infinitely curious. When Google first came out and was growing in popularity, he said that you really didn’t start learning anything interesting until about the 17th page of results.

I say that because I just did that this morning.

I’m not sure where I started. While meditating the thought arose about how most “Christmas” songs aren’t about Christmas. Well, not about celebrating Jesus’s birth. They are cultural songs about the sentimentality of the season–mostly family gatherings, children getting presents, snow (most of the song writers must have been from New York or something), grandma and reindeer (oops, cute song), and so forth.

I went to Dr. Google. She sent me to her friend Prof. Wikipedia.

“Christmas is celebrated religiously by most Christians and culturally by many people.”

Therefore the angst evangelicals feel about people saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” They prefer an “in-your-face” Merry Christmas greeting. Fine, whatever. Not everyone you meet even in rural America celebrates religiously anymore. It’s more a cultural phenomenon.

Then I wondered where the word christmas even comes from. That word being English comes from a Middle English term from the middle of the 11th century. In today’s words, “Christ’s Mass.”

So, what is the definition and origin of the word “mass”?

Well, it comes from the Latin of the 4th century worship, which has a form of the word missio–sending forth.

I found a rather weird Christian (I guess) site that said actually mass meant death and then took that ball and ran another direction.

Why December 25, when we are pretty sure Jesus was actually born in the spring?

Popularly it is taught that Christians incorporated a Roman pagan holiday because it was already celebrated. Therefore the problem Jehovah’s Witnesses and similar sects have with birthdays and Christmas because of the pagan overtones.

However, some scholars think that actually the Christians had a holiday and a Roman Emperor started a feast day to compete.

Wait a minute? Where did I start all this?

Oh, yeah. Ever notice how so many Christmas songs we hear in December are cultural and not religious?

I suppose we can enjoy both.

And beware Dr. Google. You can get lost in curiosity there as easily as getting lost in the latest opinions expressed on Facebook.

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