Let's start with Xmas. You see X is actually the Greek letter CHI which when translated becomes CHRIST. (SOURCE) So the use of the X in place of Christ in Christmas actually can be traced back to the 1700's. It isn't some new way to declare some sort of war on baby Jesus or those who believe that it is Jesus' birthday. It is a literal translation and was even used in advertising as seen below.
|Photo Credit - Wikipedia|
Advertisement from December 1922 issue of the Ladies Home Journal, showing use of abbreviation "Xmas". Artwork by Coles Phillips.
Now let's talk about the nativity scene. The first nativity is credited to Saint Francis of the Assisi in 1223 in an effort to encourage people to follow Christianity. (SOURCE) In the United States in 1973 the Supreme Court ruled that placing a religious icon on government property placed an unfair emphasis on that particular religion which violates the separate of church and state clause in the US Constitution. In 1985 in a separate case the court ruled that unless equal access was granted to non-religious icons of the holidays they too violated the Constitution - This was known as the Reindeer Rule. (SOURCE) There's a story on Huffington Post (I know some call this a biased source) that offers info on the case from Santa Monica CA - (SOURCE) In this case a group simply wanted the same access to an area of Palisades Park where nativity scenes were placed for years.
|Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), Basilique Assise, Legend of St Francis, Institution of the Crib at Greccio|
My take on this is simply this. Why is it necessary for courthouses, public buildings or lands to host religious displays? Why is it that when we say, you have the freedom to put your nativity in your yard, but don't put it in the court house all of a sudden there is some sort of war on nativities? I've also noticed a ton of "_______ is the reason for the season." Insert everything from Jesus, to Baphoment to pond scum. The "reason" we have seasons is because of the earth's axis. That's it.
|Photo Credit - NASA|
As far as being forced to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas or have a Holiday Party instead of a Christmas Party, Ummm, who is forcing you to do this? Who is showing up at your house and changing the words on your invitations? Who is telling you you cannot have a Christmas Party? I'd love to see any evidence of this at all. Show one single place where someone said, "You cannot have a Christmas Party any more." Please. Just one. I want to see it.
|Photo Credit - https://www.facebook.com/WFLAtheism|
That being said, do I really care if the lady behind the counter says Happy Holidays? Not really, no. The reason I don't care is honestly because she doesn't either. She's here working her ass off at some minimum wage job in hopes that she can pay her bills. Her boss told her to "greet the customer" and she did. No one sits around plotting the overthrow of Christmas or Christianity by means of substituting Happy Holidays for Merry Christmas.
A few years ago I posted a photo of some holiday gifts that had been sent to me from friends and one of my friends on Facebook decided to come on to my photos and post "Merry CHRISTmas" on my photos. Now my friend (well, she was my friend, I removed her after that) made it a point to come to my wall, and post that comment on my photos. While I do see some of my Pagan friends sharing the whole "Christians stole my holidays" memes I see so much more ugliness from those professing to be Christians than I do of any other group. I have friends who are Atheist, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and everything in between. I think it is possible to coexist on this planet without the need to always be right.
If the world spent more time actually practicing the religions they claim to follow we would have less horrors in the world.
So no matter what you choose to celebrate, no matter what you call it remember that other people may celebrate the same month, the same day but not the same way. Allowing someone else the same freedom that you have to worship and allowing people like me, the one's being called PC Liberals, Christmas Haters, and so on to look at someone who may not follow my path and say "Happy Holidays" isn't a war on Christmas. It is understanding that everyone is equal and remembering that only one of those holidays is federally recognized.