08 Dec 2015

Putting the “X” back in Xmas

So I am just currently recovering from several sad things that have happened back in my home country of NZ.

Since winning the World Cup (Rugby Union of course) it has been a downhill slide. We have just lost one of our true heroes, Jonah Lomu, one of the most legendary of all Rugby players in world history (of course NZ is not defined by Rugby but it is just a little important to us). Jonah died at the age of only 40, following years of battling renal disease.

The other tragedy (apart from losing Cricket to the Aussies) is that one of my other sporting heroes, world squash champion for 10 successive years, Dame Susan Devoy, who is our Human Rights Commissioner, has taken it upon herself to divest the NZ society of celebrating the religious dimensions of Xmas – and I use the “X” deliberately here as you will see in a moment.

Susan what are you up to? Have you gone mad? Are you saying that a large portion of the population who honour the name of Jesus Christ, and the tradition that is at the basis of much we know as a country to be valuable should not celebrate his birth (and the others enjoy the benefits of this festive season)? You have to be kidding? Is this not the dying Western post-modernism gone mad? Xmas will be celebrated in communist China in a massive way this year with their 120 million Christians making a real focus of it (more people now go to church in China than in the USA); the massive rival occurring amongst much of East Asia will be embracing all that is good about Xmas this year.

Sometimes I think we take this “inclusiveness” thing to ridiculous lengths – yes sure we Christians must be sensitive to the fact that many in our Post Western multi-ethnic and multi-faith society don’t follow the teachings of this baby born in Bethlehem, but surely more than ever the true message of Xmas is about reconciliation (God to humanity, and humanity being reconciled to each other), forgiveness and true shalom (peace). This is at the heart of the Xtian message (yes and the “X” is there deliberately again). Does not our world right now need to hear that message over and over again – of reconciliation, forgiveness and lasting peace?

And this is where the “X” comes in you see. X is the Greek letter chi. It is the first letter in the word “Christ” – Χριστός  (Christos) and for 2000 years has stood to represent the name of Christ. Often, when under persecution, Christians would identify themselves with this one letter.

And so this Xmas let’s do our best to put the “X” right at the beginning, and at the centre, of our festive celebration – and may you all have a safe, sensible and serene Xmas.

Rev David Williams
College Chaplain






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