There’s an old Perry Como song that goes “O there’s no place like home for the holidays…” and I’m sure you could sing along for a little bit before you had to go to Google and look up the lyrics like I did. At this holiday season, this Christmas season, we yearn for home. We yearn to be gathered together with friends and family at hearth and home. And if we’re far from family we gather together with our substitute family which we’ve created. And there’s no place like gathering together for X-mas.
And I just said X-mas. And I probably just cheesed someone off. Was it you? Well please stay and read along a bit more please.
There’s a gathering for Christmas, for X-mas, and there’s also a scattering as well. We gather together at hearth and home and then we go our own ways afterwards (sometimes with gift receipt in hand to Target). We gather together to enjoy holiday cheer, drink egg nog, open gifts, and basically have a holly jolly time. And then we leave, gifts in hand (and gift receipts too) and head on home. Sometimes, if it was good, we’d talk about it a bit on the way home or a day or two later about how it was.
And then you get the traditional question from co-workers and friends “How was Christmas.” And we answer either covertly “It was fine” to overtly “It was a blast… so and so was here, and so was so-in-so and I hadn’t seen them for a while.” It all depends on how we viewed the get together. We will gather and then we will scatter.
That’s the point of X-mas–to gather and scatter. Why the X in X-mas and why the mas in it as well? The X has been short hand for Christ for centuries. It’s the first letter in the Greek for Christos (X is a “ch” sound in Greek). But what about mas? Mas is shortened for mass. A worship service. But it’s more than just that.
I did some digging on this because I have so much time on my hands (no really, my bible levitates two feet above my desk, shines golden and I just soak in what to say and do… okay, I don’t really but it sounds cool) and learned a bit more about the etymology for the word mass.
Mass itself is from the Latin and Greek meaning bread. Why’s this important? Because bread is crucial to communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist (please take time to Google or go to Wikipedia because that’s a long explanation). Long and short, after each worship service, bread and wine would be given as a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice. More than that, it was the final part of the worship service and people would depart after that. Because of this, the word mass was associated with the Eucharist and with dismissal. It was time to go back out to every day life.
Christmas is not only the remembering of the sending of Jesus but also looking forward to when He comes again. It’s also a time where we gather together with believers around the world and in our local churches to spend time together learning more about God, about Jesus, and then we are dismissed to go into the world.
We are gathered and then we are scattered. We are dismissed.
We are gathered to be prepared to be scattered.
And Christmas is the prime time for this. Christmas gathers us together as people, as followers of Jesus, as believers and then scatters us into the world to proclaim, to tell, to speak about what we have just encountered. If we gather for the purpose of ourselves then we’ve lost the importance of the dismissal of the mas at the end of Christmas. If we don’t scatter to speak of what we’ve learned then we’ve lost the importance of the dismissal in mas. And en mass we do more harm than good then when in mas. (see what I did there).
How can you be gathered this Christmas to be scattered this Christmas. How can you be gathered together for a purpose to be scattered for a purpose.
The cool thing is, is that this is not just a yearly thing but a weekly thing. Each week we can be gathered and scattered. Will you be part of this? To have Christmas every day, every week, every moth, to be gathered and scattered for Jesus?