What is Xmas? I’ve seen this phrase used all my life and have often wondered why people used it. Why was the most important part of the word “Christmas” being replaced with an “X”? To me, the letter “X” symbolizes the marking out of something. Like crossing off the items on my shopping list. I no longer need it, so I mark it out. Or the original price of a sale item is marked out and replaced with a better deal. Does Xmas mean that we are replacing Christ with something we think is better or that we no longer need him?
All of these questions prompted me to search for answers, so I went to Google and typed in Xmas. I was surprised to learn that this isn’t a term generated by the secular world in an attempt to remove Christ from Christmas. I’m sure there are some who use this term with the intentions of removing Christ, but ironically they’ve done just the opposite. Wikipedia claims the “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and is translated as “Christ”. The term dates back to the 1700s, but similar versions were used as far back as the 1100s. Usage of Xmas has been around much longer than any of us, and more importantly it was not coined in an attempt to remove Christ.
Text messaging has led to many shortcuts in our written language. I don’t like how it virtually destroys all of the spelling skills I work so hard to teach my students, but I do occasionally use a few of those shortcuts. For example, ur means you’re; thx means thanks; LOL means laughing out loud. Shortcuts can be helpful, but they also mean something is lost. Spelling skills are lost when texting. The beautiful scenic route is lost when traveling. Christ becomes lost in Xmas because most of us aren’t aware that in the Greek language “X” means Christ.
Even after researching the background, I still can’t help but cringe when I see Xmas in place of Christmas. After all, if not for the birth of Christ, there would be no Christmas to celebrate. I want to see His name. I want to hear it. I want to say it. No Xmas or Happy Holidays. For me, it will always be “Merry Christmas”!
No matter how you choose to write it, be sure to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season! May you have a wonderfully blessed Christmas.
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”