I have been asked more than once (and have also overheard many heated debates) about the modern “Christmas VS Holiday” controversy.
Most Christians get immediately offended when the word “Holiday” is substituted for “Christmas” because they regard it as just another example of encroaching secular humanism.
In most cases, it certainly is that. The name “Christ” has become an offense to our post-christian culture and it should not therefore surprise us that anti-christ citizens do everything in their power to erase his highly-exalted name.
However, most Christians are actually fighting to retain a word which (at least historically speaking) protestants have always recoiled against: “Christmas”
The word itself is easy enough to understand in that it is a compound word.
The first part of the word “Christ” is the title given to God’s anointed Savior: Jesus. There is no other name under heaven given amongst men whereby they must be saved and we should be offended when liberals seek to hide that name from the lost.
The second part of the word “Mass” is a clear reference to the Roman Catholic ritual in which bread and wine are said to be miraculously transubstantiated into actual body and blood of Jesus so that he can be re-sacrificed daily by Roman priests in order to provide ongoing propitiation for the sins of the people:
“The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different. And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner… this sacrifice is truly propitiatory” (Council of Trent, Doctrina de ss. Missae sacrificio, c. 2, quoted in Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1367).
This view of the Lord’s Supper has been universally condemned by protestants over the last five centuries as a denial of Christ’s finished work on the cross and as an accursed idolatry in the church.
So while I understand and appreciate the passion of those who are fighting against the secular humanists, I do think they are somewhat misguided.
“Holiday” simply means “Holy Day” and that is actually a far more biblical title for our religious observances (c.f., Exodus 35:2).
By Pastor Christian McShaffrey