Every year around this time, the rallying cry resurfaces: “It’s time to put the Christ back in Christmas”. Well maybe my eyes aren’t working so good, but it looks to me like the Christ is already back in Christmas in a big way; you just might not notice it if you’re not as fascinated by language and etymology, like myself.
Ok, let’s start by breaking it down: “Christmas” conjures images of candy canes, stockings, and Santa Clause, but if you look a little closely you may notice something else: the first five letters of the word actually make up the word “Christ”. IT’S BEEN THERE THE WHOLE TIME (or at least as long as I can remember). Is your mind blown yet? Well stick around, cause it’s about to get blown even more.
Let’s take a look at the second part of the word: “mas”, or the Spanish word for “more”. Taken alone and out of context, it would make very little sense for us to celebrate “more”. What would that even mean? More what? Legos? Bakugan toys? Unlikely, but the problem is we would never know.
Now let’s examine a couple different scenarios that further explore the mythos behind the controversy:
Scenario 1: Based on how much yammering I hear about “putting the Christ back in Christmas”, I’m going to go ahead and assume that for a little while they took that part out. I’m not a historian so I don’t know for sure, but I’m sure you could look it up. In this scenario, we used to celebrate “Christmas” and someone decided to cross the “Christ” part out, leaving us with only the “mas”. If that is the case, then yeah, I agree: “mas” by itself is a little confusing for reasons I’ve already explained.
Scenario 2: At a certain point in history (again, I’m no historian), we used to celebrate plain ol’ “Christ”. One day, someone decided we shouldn’t do that anymore and popped a big ol’ “X” over Christ and wrote the word “mas” instead. So in this scenario, “Christ” and “mas” never existed together: instead, one replaced the other in some sort of hostile takeover. If that is the case, then the conclusion remains the same: “mas” by itself is a little confusing.
Fast forward 50 or so years and bingo bango bongo, “Christ” and “Mas” were reunited (or joined for the first time, all my Scenario 2-heads out there), and now we can break down the word into two parts: “Mas” = more, and “Christ” = Christ. So now we have “More Christ”. Whoa.
Not only has the Christ been put back in Christmas, there’s actually more Christ than ever. Words are fascinating, and next time you’re getting all worked up, maybe take a second and ask an expert who studies this stuff for a living (or hopes to one day).
Merry More Christ (I broke the word down in a fun twist on the popular greeting)! Hashtag it!