Have you ever heard about the plot to “X” Christ out of Christmas? And so the secular celebraters of this holy-day (holiday) decided they were going to start using “Xmas” instead of Christmas?
Well, it’s not true.
We do have lots of people who celebrate Christmas without the “Christ” part. We also have lots of people who celebrate Christmas without the “mass” part. And yet still others who celebrate the “holidays” without really celebrating any particular “holy day” at all.
We have taken God out of government, schools and the workplace. Many have transformed Christ into some kind of subjective feeling or force. Even some “churches” have taken Christ out of their creed altogether.
But “Xmas” is not trying to “X” Christ out of Christmas. It actually is a legitimate abbreviation.
The “X” in Xmas is from the first letter of the Greek spelling for Christ (???????). You’ve probably seen a big XP symbol on the altar at mass before. That’s a symbol for Christ (again, from the Greek word for Christ). In fact, Microsoft’s Windows XP is also a reference to Jesus Christ.
Ok, I made that last part up. But the rest is true…”X” is just an abbreviation for Christ. And similar abbreviations have been in use by Christians since the beginning of Christianity.
Of course, Christians have also always only used such abbreviations when it was prudent or practical. “Xmas” is not considered a formal way to reference this holy celebration – just as most all abbreviations and shorthand are not appropriate in formal writing. And certainly, when referencing the King of Kings, it seems appropriate to maintain as much reverence and respect with His name whenever possible.
Personally, I don’t use “Xmas” because most people in the world don’t understand the connection between the symbol “X” and the name of Christ. And since our culture has largely forgotten the “Reason for the season,” using unclear language only makes that problem worse. We need more clear reminders for what this season is all about – not less.
Have a merry Christmas!