Holiday is a contraction of holy day. Xmas stands for Christ Mass — Christ’s feast day. The X is for the Geek letter Chi, the first letter of Christ.
I don’t know when Jesus’ actual birthday is, but I was told Dec. 25 was chosen to negate the pagan Saturnalia. Like most people, medieval Christians liked celebrations and were celebrating the pagan observance of the year’s shortest day. The church in its wisdom decided, if you can’t lick them, join them. Pagans continued to celebrate their way and the Christians did their own.
Some observe Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The four weeks of Advent represent the four centuries of expectation between Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, and Jesus.
The Advent calendar, Jesse Tree and Advent wreath are visual aids to promote devotion. Every day, a Bible verse and a spiritual act are noted on the Advent calendar. Dec. 25 is the first day of Christmas. The season ends 12 days later on the Feast of the Epiphany commemorating the visit of the Magi with gifts.
The original Santa Claus was St. Nicholas; His feast day is Dec. 6. He tossed a bag of gold into a poor man’s window so his daughter would have a marriage dowry, according to legend.
So enjoy your Christmas shopping and help the economy. Perhaps someone will nostalgically wander into a midnight service and find Jesus still loves him. Verse 3 of “O Little Town of Bethlehem reminds us, “Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.”