Keep X in Xmas

A few Sundays ago I wrote "Xmas Party" on a white board. I was promptly told that it was a "Christmas Party," not an "Xmas Party." I tried to explain what I'm about to say here, but in that moment it was a lost cause on my interlocutor. Needless to say, this guy was certainly in the target demographic for the "Keep Christ in Christmas" bumper stickers.

Is "X" in place of "Christ" an affront to the true meaning of Christmas?
I don't think so, but as with most things, motive matters. Certainly there are plenty of people who insist on removing everything related to Jesus from the holiday, but that isn't true of everyone who uses "X" in place of "Christ."

Dennis Bratcher sums up the argument well when he says, "All of the hype and hysteria over supposedly taking Christ out of Christmas by writing 'Xmas' instead of spelling out 'Christmas' is both uninformed and misdirected" (article: "The Origin of 'Xmas'").

"X" has always been an acceptable substitute for "Christ" because "X" is the first letter of the Greek word Christos, which is from the Hebrew word for "Messiah" or "anointed one." The first letter of Christos is transliterated into English as an "X." That "X" has come down to us, through church history, as a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ. For this reason, respected Reformed theologian, R.C. Sproul says, "There's a long and sacred history of the use of X symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect" (article: "Why X is Used When It Replaces Christ in Christmas").

I agree with Dr. Sproul on this point. And in case you're wondering, even snopes.com knows the truth of the matter!


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