Finals week is upon us and with that comes the culmination of all the work that VU students have put in throughout the entire fall semester. For many, it’s the most stressful time of the year, but right after that comes the most wonderful time of the year. Beginning officially on December 9th, a month long winter break is granted to VU students as an intermission of sorts, for the spring semester to come. At around the halfway point of that break, on December 25th, is Christmas. Christmas, from a Christian perspective, is a holiday celebrating the birth of Christ. In the secular world, this meaning is often lost in the commercial aspect of the holiday that seems to grow in significance with every passing year. Essentially, the Christ in Christmas is lost in a sea of presents and pretty lights. However, this isn’t the only case where the true meaning of Christmas is confused. There are many myths about Christmas that need to be cleared before everyone enjoys this winter break. The amount of myths about Christmas that are out there are too numerous to tackle in one article, so they have been narrowed down to five particularly severe offenders.
The first Christmas myth that shall be debunked, is that Jesus was actually born on December 25th. This would make sense considering that Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of Christ’s birth, but Jesus was more likely born closer to the end of September. The second Christmas myth that may be based more on opinion than on actual fact, is that Christmas is the most important Christian holiday. People argue that Easter is actually the most important Christian holiday, due to the fact that Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ, which in turn promises eternal life for all who follow him. Third, abbreviating Christmas as “X-mas”, is not sacrilegious. Some Christians believe that literally taking the Christ out of Christmas is a slam against God, but the word Christ in Greek is Χριστός. The first letter of that word is the only letter you need to understand to see where “X-mas” originated from. The fourth Christmas myth that will no longer fool anyone, is that three kings visited Jesus shortly after his birth. In fact, these “kings” were actually magi who arrived when Jesus was a young child, not an infant. Furthermore, just because there were three gifts doesn’t mean that there were three magi, or wise men. The fifth and final myth that will forever be dispelled, is that Christmas trees are a fire hazard. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t still water the tree regularly and turn the lights off before bed at night, but Christmas trees are not known to spontaneously combust. Between 2005 and 2009, there were only 240 Christmas tree-related fires per year in the United States which is very few considering how many trees are sold. The biggest hazards are overloaded outlets and faulty wires. This may not be following the theme of the the four previous myths, but it is nice knowing how much safer you are in the presence of Christmas’s best smelling symbol. Merry Christmas and a happy new year.