Merry Xmas, yes Xmas

Yesterday we were driving through the Upstate New York countryside and I saw a big sign from my in-laws city that said "Put Christ back in Christmas" and I was reminded of an article I read recently.  Growing up in a Christian family I have heard this saying many, many times, but reading it yesterday made me think and reevaluate those lessons learned in my childhood.  I vaguely remember hearing someone say to me that people who couldn't handle the fact that Christmas was about Christ had turned it into Xmas, to take Christ out.  I remember that the phrase "Put Christ back in Christmas" was due to this trend of writing Xmas and that it shouldn't be used.  Funny how you just do something because someone tells you to do it when you are young.

I read this article and realized that if only those who started the "put Christ back in Christmas" movement had only taken a few moments to research why Xmas was used, they might not have started the movement. See, as this article shows, the Greek word Christos (Christ) is literally translated into the English language as X and in earlier churches the X was used as a shorthand for Christ.  So, I started thinking about this and realized that by using the X to mean the word Christ, instead of writing Christ out of Christmas, we are actually showing how deep the history of the Christmas celebration runs.  This is not a new, made up Hallmark holiday such as Sweetest Day, but has been celebrated for so many thousands of years that ancient Greek words are used to describe it.  I don't see any ancient Greek in Sweetest Day.

It makes you stop and think doesn't it? How could I, for so many years, mindlessly follow something that was not even true?  I do agree that Christmas has become way too commercialized and Christ is slipping away.  But I will never feel that twinge every time I see the word Xmas written.  Instead I will be happy that I celebrate a holiday founded on the birth of someone so special that there are different words across many different languages used to call him by name.

And so, I will say again, Merry Xmas to you.  Remember who you are celebrating.  As Munchkie says "Baby Sheshus!"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Munchkie's Mom. I didn't know about the origin of the X. Enjoy your time with Munchkie's dad's family.

    Munchkie's Grandad