Thursday, December 6, 2012

Keeping the "X" in "Xmas"

It seems at this time of year that we often hear of people getting upset at the use of the word "Xmas" in place of the word "Christmas". The concern is that by using "Xmas" instead of "Christmas" that we are blatantly taking Jesus out of the season. To be honest this argument has always made me laugh, and so I feel compelled to explain why in this blog. 

The New Testament was originally written in Greek.  In Greek the word for "Christ" is Χριστός, which begins with the Greek letter (known as chi) that is basically the same as the English letter X. So, as I understand it, the original use of Xmas was simply an abbreviation of Christmas. Really there is no conspiracy here. 

But I know that we can't deny that there is a move to secularize Christmas in our culture. This should come as no surprise to us. The reality is that we live in a culture where most people are not following Christ and therefore their understanding of Christmas will reflect this. 

But I sometimes wonder if we as Christians aren't also complicit in Jesus being removed from the season. Have we as followers of Christ allowed all the other things about the season to crowd out the Christ-story in our own lives? I recently heard someone suggest that one of the ways that we can be ensuring that Jesus remains central in our own expression and understanding of the season is to make sure that for every time we (and our family) hear a secular Christmas story (i.e. Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Elf...etc), that we should make sure that we take the time to also read, or retell, the story of the birth of Christ. In this way we would ensure that our culture's understanding of the season would not crowd out the significance of what the Bible tells us about the birth of Christ. 

I can't help but wonder if our way forward is to stop fighting the "keep Christ in Christmas" battle in the public forum, and seek to ensure that Christ is prominent in our own Christmas celebrations and then seek to live that out in tangible ways. 

Just a thought...

Also, I found this blog about St. Nicholas. Definitely worth the click! (click here)

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