Saturday, December 09, 2006

Keeping the MASS in ChristMASS

A local pastor sent out the suggestion to all of the area LCMS clergy that read...

CHRISTians unite. Let's start a new trend.
I urge you to use a new pronunciation for "Christmas."

Stop using the usual short "i" sound when you say "Christmas." Instead, use the long "i" vowel sound whenever you say "CHRISTmas" to emphasize the name of CHRIST our Savior. Try it. It's a neat witness.

Have a blessed CHRISTmas (long "i" sound) season!

While I don't think changing the pronunciation of Christmas is likely to get any "traction," I do like the countercultural spirit of his suggestion. I do think there is a very realistic way in which we preachers of the Gospel and stewards of the mysteries of God can confess the meaning of Christmas by being very clear just what the word "Christmas" contains. Here is my response to all of the area clergy...

Dear [name deleted for privacy]:

You're absolutely right that people need to not only know, but to ponder and embrace the true meaning of Christmas! Our secular culture wants to take the CHRIST out of Christmas, and the Church has not done a very good job of keeping the other half of the word (Christ-MASS).

Christmas is all about the Lord coming to us in humble flesh and blood to save us. What a miracle and a wonder the Incarnation is! And what a diabolical plot it is to obscure this miracle - whether by an overemphasis on shopping and snowmen, or by forgetting or failing to emphasize how the Lord is still incarnate today - in his holy and precious flesh and blood that comes to us.
So, let's emphasize both parts of Christmas: Christ, and the Mass.

Let's use the word "Mass" as our confessions do, so that our people can really grasp the true meaning of ChristMass, of the miracle of the Lord Incarnate coming to us in flesh and blood to forgive our sins and give us everlasting life! For just as every Sunday is a celebration of Easter, of the resurrected Christ, so also every Sunday Mass is in reality a Christ Mass in which the Gift of the incarnate Christ Child is given to us anew!

"We do not abolish the Mass but religiously keep and defend it. In our churches Mass is celebrated every Sunday and on other festivals, when the sacrament is offered to those who wish for it after they have been examined and absolved" (AC XXIV:1, Tappert p. 249).

Thanks for your suggestion, and a Blessed Christmas to you and yours!


Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

Hear, hear.

I own this CD and love it. I have sent it as a birthday gift for someone with a November birthday. :)

Anonymous said...

At a certain Lutheran parish, it has been the custom for at least 30 years to spell the popular name for the Nativity Feast thusly: Christmass.

Perhaps ChristMass is now possible in the dot com age.

Scott McLean said...

I really liked reading what you wrote about Christmas! You're right!

Anonymous said...

We must be on the same wave length Rev.
Check out my blog post:
Merry ChristMass!