How timely that for ABC Wednesday we are on the letter X. The history of the letter X as used in Xmas is fascinating and does not take away from Christ in Christmas.
It was first used in the mid 1500s. X is the Greek letter “chi,” the initial letter in the word Χριστός. And here’s the kicker: Χριστός means “Christ.” X has been an acceptable representation of the word “Christ” for hundreds of years. This device is known as a Christogram. The mas in Xmas is the Old English word for “mass.” (The thought-provoking etymology of “mass” can be found here.) In the same vein, the dignified terms Xpian and Xtian have been used in place of the word “Christian.” Source.
At this old house Christmas is all about Jesus Christ and his arrival on this earth with His mission to bring the Truth (He is the truth) and to ultimately die on the cross for our sins. I’m not getting my knickers in a knot over the use of X instead of Christ for Christmas. Some of these over 100 year old postcards from Dear’s Great Great Aunt have both Xmas and Merry Christmas on them.
More explanation from R.C. Sproul with Ligonier Ministries, “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.”
These postcards were mailed in December of 1909!
A very Merry Christmas and A Merry Xmas to all my ABC Wednesday friends!
Thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt for starting ABC Wednesday and for Roger and the team for administrating the weekly meme!
So are you prepared for Christmas? We are getting soaked here in the Pacific Northwest! Lots of snow in the mountains, too. How are things in your part of the world?