Thursday, December 09, 2010


Who started rumor that "X" in Xmas an attempt to cross out Christ's name? Since Anglo-Saxon times X stood for Christ . . .Not too long ago I was listening to the radio and there was a big debate about the proper usage of holiday greetings. Of course, many 'christians' called in complaining about keeping the "Christ" in Christmas... wow..... So, for all the uniformed here is a great article that I wished the listeners of the radio program would have read before opening thier mouth!

Why is X Used when it Replaces Christ in Christmas?
By R.C. Sproul

The simple answer to your question is that the X in Christmas is used like the R in R.C. My given name at birth was Robert Charles, although before I was even taken home from the hospital my parents called me by my initials, R.C., and nobody seems to be too scandalized by that.X can mean so many things. For example, when we want to denote an unknown quantity, we use the symbol X. It can refer to an obscene level of films, something that is X-rated. People seem to express chagrin about seeing Christ’s name dropped and replaced by this symbol for an unknown quantity X. Every year you see the signs and the bumper stickers saying, “Put Christ back into Christmas” as a response to this substitution of the letter X for the name of Christ.

First of all, you have to understand that it is not the letter X that is put into Christmas. We see the English letter X there, but actually what it involves is the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. Christos is the New Testament Greek for Christ. The first letter of the Greek word Christos is transliterated into our alphabet as an X. That X has come through church history to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ.We don’t see people protesting the use of the Greek letter theta, which is an O with a line across the middle. We use that as a shorthand abbreviation for God because it is the first letter of the word Theos, the Greek word for God.The idea of X as an abbreviation for the name of Christ came into use in our culture with no intent to show any disrespect for Jesus. The church has used the symbol of the fish historically because it is an acronym. Fish in Greek (ichthus) involved the use of the first letters for the Greek phrase “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” So the early Christians would take the first letter of those words and put those letters together to spell the Greek word for fish. That’s how the symbol of the fish became the universal symbol of Christendom. There’s a long and sacred history of the use of X to symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect.

Merry Xmas!


novice said...

Thanks for posting this - every year the "Don't call it xmas!" crowd drives me nuts.

You'd think that if we as Christians really feel the need to draw a line in the sand then at the very least we'd double check which side of it we're on.

I can't count the number of times I've encountered Christians who are "taking a stand" on something they have not bothered to actually think about, let alone research.

We only get so many opportunities to share Christ with the rest of the world, why are we wasting them by picking small-minded fights?

She... said...

:) Thank you.

Karen said...

That "X" is understood as "Christ" was explained to us in bible class at school (MBCI) when I was in grade 7. (made taking notes much easier too!:) ) Too bad more Christian schools don't cover these things.

She... said...

Can you do a post about irregardless vs. regardless too? ;-)

Wouldn't this be a neat Xmas-spirit story in a newspaper? I went to a public school and so didn't learn this until someone called me on it. He called me on it very nicely, I might add. I don't wince even a little bit when I think about that conversation... which is pretty much ever time I write Xmas.

... unlike when I was called on 'irregardless'... :)

Jordan said...

@Karen Too bad more Christians don't cover these things.

Karen said...

@Jordan Yup. That would be good

Jean said...

Karen: Totally understand.
In notes I would write X'ty for Christianity, Xn for Christian, etc, and even our professors would do that!