It’s that time of year again! I’ve noticed that men in red suits have began loitering in malls. This is the month my friend’s mama bakes about 40 metric tons of butter cookies, to be consumed in just one month, and in only her house! It does smell nice, even if I prefer to live a New Life Style, keep my health, and avoid the cookies!
Whoa! Hold your horses! I said “Xmas!” But it is Christmas you say! Indeed, people often say Xmas is wrong, that it is Christmas! Their contention is this, the word “Christ” in Christmas has been replaced with an “X” in an effort to distance Christmas from it roots of faith and religion. This idea has been going around for a while.
In fact, some people over the years have pointed to the use of Xmas as evidence, or even proof, of what is sometimes called “the war on Christmas!” So they issue calls to “Put the Christ back in Christmas!” I must admit to being one of these in the past. Likewise in my daughter’s school in days, years ago, students who had Christian sponsors overseas, were prohibited from using Xmas in writing their greetings, as this offends some people.
My friend, a lexicographer, tells me that “lexicographers don’t deal in matters of cultural, sociological or theological” and the current debate on Xmas, at first glance, appears to be all three! “However,” they continued, “Lexically speaking, Christ is, and always has been in Xmas.” They saw on my face that I was obviously confused, so they helped me to better understand the true history of how Xmas actually does mean Christmas!
The History of Xmas
The “Χ” in Xmas, as it turns out, is actually the Greek letter “Chi” and the first letter in the word “Cristos,” which means Christ. Xmas didn’t show up in the English language until the 1500′s, but the letter “Χ”, meaning Christ, has been in use for 1000 years! It reminds me of the “X” in “ΙΧΘΥΣ”, the Yeshua Fish (more on that later!).
Okay, you say, but why the abbreviation, “X” for Christ? Isn’t Christ short enough? Just remember that this use of “X” pre-dates the printing press! A thousand years ago, books were copied over by hand, often on hard to obtain materials, and were extremely expensive. So you can gain space, and also save ink and time, using “X” instead of the word Christ.
Of course, we should be aware that some people consider Xmas to be disrespectful. So consider your audience when giving our your holiday greetings! As David ben David says, “It’s better to be kind that to be right!” On the other hand, given its history, don’t let Xmas ruin your holiday! Isn’t that what over full parking lots, long lines, and cash registers at the mall are for?
At least you now know it isn’t disrespectful if you get an “Xmas” greeting!
I would prefer hearing BMFG brothers greeting “Merry Messiahmas!”
Of course, some people have already started abbreviating that to M&M, isn’t that sweet?
Enjoy your M&M’s Day! Plain or Peanut!
While you are munching on your favorite snack…
Your question for this post is…
How do you greet people during this Holiday season?
Leave your answer in the comment section below…