Thursday, December 2, 2010

Xmas Wars

It's officially Advent, and that means it's time for everybody's favorite holiday tradition: listening to blowhards complain that Christmas is becoming secularized. My favorite of these complaints -- which are best made from the campout line in front of Best Buy on Black Friday morning as the complainer laces up his Nikes and tightens his elbow pads in anticipation of cracking the skull of anybody who gets between him and his $250-off HDTV -- is that using the abbreviation "Xmas" in place of "Christmas" is part of an agenda to remove Christ himself from Christmas.

Most to least ethnic: Joseph, Mary, Jesus

I'm not really sure what those who would remove "Christ" from Christmas could possibly do to desecrate the holiday any more than we modern Christians have already done, but some people are insistent that this abbrevation is just plain evil. Who would do such a thing? My first thought would be people who are running out of space on whatever they're writing on, but beyond that I can't really come up with a profile of your typical Christmas abbreviator. Except, there is this one blatant instance that comes to mind ...

There! Right at the top of the page, it says "ARXH TOU EUAGGELION IU XU" -- "The beginning of the gospel of I.X.!" What is this I.X. blasphemy? Is this some XX knockoff with gospel influences? Oh wait, it's Mark 1:1 from Codex Sinaiticus, a fourth-century Bible manuscript, and I.X. is an abbreviation for Jesus Christ. Well, fourth century -- that's kind of late. Maybe the Church was already corrupted with secularism by then.

What about the earliest known gospel fragment that contains Jesus's name? What does it say, eh? Let's see, it refers to someone wearing a purple robe and a crown of thorns, going by the name of ... "I." Oh.

This really leaves only one question: why did the early Church insist on secularizing Christmas?

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