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Merry Xmas! Yeah…That’s Right.

Fish SymbolI have some peeves. Things that bother me that others do. One is when people get angry based on their own ignorance. The annual dust up at Christmas time about the use of Xmas vs Christmas is one of those. Each year we’re treated to the same chorus of “it takes Christ out of Christmas!” which is bothersome on several fronts. The first being that the use of Xmas dates back at least 1000 years so it’s not some secular construct modernly created to erase Jesus from the holiday because we now live in a wicket Sodom of a world.

Learn from the Fishers of Men

It’s known as a Christogram and the X isn’t x’ing out Christ it means Christ. In Greek which is the origin of the word Christ they have a different alphabet than we use in English. There’s a letter in the Greek alphabet that looks just like our X and it’s known as “chi”. See where this is going? It’s not an X at all…because it’s not English. It’s a chi. So at the very least we have chi’mas. But it was well understood by those who used it that the X was meant to represent the name of Christ.

Going way back the Greek version of “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.” was very important to early Christians. In Greek that very phrase is “Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ”. Yes…it’s all Greek to me too. But there’s something very interesting that these ancient Christians did next. They did something clever and made an acronym out of that “ΙΧΘΥΣ” known as the “Ichthys”. That word might look familiar to many of you as it relates to the study of fish, Ichthyology. And that gives us a great connection to scripture and the well known symbol for Christianity, the fish.

ChiRho Beyond that there is another ancient symbol known as the “Chi Rho”. Remember Chis is X and in Greek Rho is represented with a P. This is considered to be the first two letters in spelling out Christ or in Greek Χριστός (Christos). See in the image below how the most prominent feature in the symbol is the big old X?

No, the X in Xmas has been around a very long time and all along has been used with respect as a sacred symbol. If your name were Terrence Jehoshaphat and all your friends called you T.J. there’s no offense in this and they aren’t erasing your memory by using this shortened version of your name.

In You

The simple fact is, if you are a Christian you should believe that no one can take Christ out of Christmas but you. Even if Xmas was an attempt to do that, and we’ve shown it’s not, it’s only possible if you allow it in your heart. As the ancient Christians did when they looked at the X of the Chi Rho see Christ in the X. Rather than letting that old symbol die give it life in your own thoughts and heart. Then Xmas will be Christmas because you want it to be that.

It’s important to remember that for many Christmas is not a religious holiday. Even though they take it off work, put up a tree, and buy gifts for family and friends they don’t do it to celebrate the birth of Christ. This is true even among Christians. Apart from being a Christian Holy Day it’s also a national holiday. If having everyone around you putting Christ in Christmas is the only way the holiday can by holy then you will always fail, Xmas or not.

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