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The Myths of Christmas, Part 2

Thomas Whitley

Since my original post seemed to generate a lot of buzz, I thought I'd follow it up with some other myths as well as some clarifications. First, the clarifications. I said this regarding the "immaculate conception":

The doctrine of the “immaculate conception” says that Mary was conceived and born without the stain of original sin. This, then, allows her to be a virgin when she conceives Jesus

Court Greene pointed out to me that I didn't exactly word that correctly. The "immaculate conception" did not allow Mary to be a virgin. Instead, as the doctrine goes, it meant that she did not inherit any of the "original sin." My point, then was that her not being stained by "original sin" made it possible for her to be chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. This is, of course, all according to the doctrines, not my own personal beliefs.

The second clarification regards my comments on Santa Claus. As I said in a few of the comments, I do not presume to tell anyone else how to raise their children, nor am I saying that my personal experience of "Santa" growing up wasn't great, it was. Rather, I am simply stating that my current position is such that if I ever do have children, I don't plan to push Santa. I have no intentions of pushing my child to "let the cat out of the bag," so to speak, for other children, but if it does happen I certainly will not punish my children for speaking what they know to be truth (just as those children for whom Santa is real should not be punished for saying so).

Now, for two more myths.

Zach brought this one up in the comments and I believe it should be elevated.

I’m fairly certain that “X-mas” comes from χριστος. not an attempt to remove Christ’s name.

Zach is completely right here. The "X" is the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter of χριστος, "Christ," in Greek. "X" has long been an abbreviation for χριστος that was first used by ancient Christians. So, Xmas or X-mas is not taking the "Christ" out of Christmas, as many say, instead it is simply following the tradition of Christians for centuries of abbreviated Christ as X.

Second, the "twelve days of Christmas" come after Christmas day. Christmas, the season, begins on Christmas day, not the day after Thanksgiving, as it does in many of our houses; that is Advent, which encompasses the 4 Sundays before Christmas. Christmas day, then begins the twelve days of Christmas, a time also known as Christmastide. Christmas is then followed by the celebration of Epiphany, or the Feast of Epiphany, on January 6. The song is certainly a fun song to sing, just remember next time you're singing the song before December 25 that those twelve days do not actually occur until after Christmas day.