Now that I’ve gotten your attention with a scandalous title, you may want to read what the “X” in “Xmas” really stands for.
I realize that a title like the one above could get you in trouble with a lot of folks. It’s the opposite of what you hear good people of my faith saying this time of year.
But the title happens to be exactly what we should be doing. Let me explain.
The letter X gets a bad rap this time of year. One Christmas when I was a kid two of the stores in my hometown had display windows too narrow to spell out “Merry Christmas” so they did something like this
which caused an uproar in my small town. It was the first time I remember hearing someone say that we should “put the Christ back in Christmas.” The last time I heard the phrase was a week ago when someone linked to a website on Facebook. Same message: don’t X the Christ out of Christmas.
Well, the X is not what you might think.
The first letter of the word is a Chi (the ch is pronounced like a k and it rhymes with pie). It looks very much like our English letter X.
If I were to abbreviate my last name, I would write Sammy W. In the same way, using the Greek of the New Testament, Jesus Christ becomes Jesus X.
I’ll admit that shortening Christmas to Xmas doesn’t appeal to me. But it helps to know that the abbreviation is not some sinister plot to push Jesus out of the world.
You could argue that the abbreviation in fact puts Him right where he belongs: at the beginning of our holiday thoughts and celebration.