Sunday, December 09, 2012

The X in Christmas

I was accused of being lazy when I used Xmas for Christmas. Patrick Marshall, our Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Wahoo, NE, wrote about its history in the December newsletter.

"Centuries ago, when Christianity first started taking root and growing, the dominant language of our faith was Greek (the whole New Testament was written in Greek). In Greek, the word for Christ is Christo. The Greek alphabet doesn't have a C in it. So when you want to say Christo, you had to use the Greek letter X, which was pronounced Chi (not ch like chair, but more like the ch in how we say Christ). In Greek then, the word Christ looked like this: Xpistou.

"When it became illegal to be a Christian and the Roman Empire started persecuting, arresting, and killing Christians, they had to be a little more discreet about the fact that they were talking about Jesus. So instead of spelling out his name, they would simply abbreviate it with an X, the first letter in Chirst. When the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal in 313 A.D., he did so, in part, becuase he had a vision before a major battle of a shield in the sky with Greek letters XP on it (chi and rho, the first two letters of Christ).

"So for over 1700 years, the letter X has been used by Christians as an abbreviation for Christ. The word Xmas, then, is not an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas. Christ is right there in it. You have to look for him.

". . . Christmas (and Christianity) isn't about finding Christ in the obvious places. We have to search for him in this world and in our lives. Because then and now, God always shows up where we least expect him: in a manger; a conversation with a friend, or in something as simple as a letter. Merry Christmas."

Merry Xmas and Best Wishes for the New Year.
Grace, Peace and Plenty to you and yours now and always.


2012 Red Convertible Travel Series

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