History of Xmas


Bulb As Christmas approaches, it will become more frequent that hear the recurring debate regarding the political correctness of the phrase "Merry Christmas."  In the midst of fighting against replacing "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" there also seems to opposition to using abbreviations such as X-Mas or Xmas.  Many people seemingly fear that abbreviating the word Christmas is simply another secular plan devised to remove Christ from Christmas.

"This is one of the most holy of the holidays, the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. And for people to take Christ out of Christmas. They're happy to say merry Xmas. Let's just take Jesus out. And really, I think, a war against the name of Jesus Christ." - Franklin Graham

While I can certainly understand the fear and the confusion behind using the word X-Mas, history reveals that the word is not a scheme to remove Christ but something far from it.  As far back as the year 1021, references can be seen of the word Χριστος (Greek for "Christ") being abbreviated using the letters X and XP.  It still is not uncommon to see the Christian symbol called the Chi-Ro representing Christ.  The Chi-Ro was not created to remove Christ from ancient literature or the body of Christ, but it was a symbol used to represent Christ to readers.  In the same way, the usage of the letter X was not used as a way to remove Christ, but as shorthand that kept Christ present and was easy to write.

The meaning of Christmas is at risk

Christ is being taken out of Christmas.  But it's not because people choose to say "Happy Holidays" over "Merry Christmas."  Christ is being taken out of Christmas more and more as people are worshipping something other than Jesus.  We worship the holiday season.  We worship gifts.  We worship the lights and decorations.  We worship our own holiday celebrations as Lord and not Jesus as Lord.  The birth of Jesus in the first century radically challenged people to decide, do we worship Caesar or do we worship this baby?  Herod gave his life to Caesar and therefore wanted to kill Jesus; the magi worshipped Jesus and saught to keep Christ safe.  Who (or what) do you worship this Christmas season?

Photo Credit: Natalie Bulzan & LonePrimate

2 Comments