Why Writing 'Xmas' is Not Disrespectful
With the cold winter weather already upon us, folks have begun their yearly campaign about the “reason for the season” and the politicizing of Christmas greetings. The denizens of Facebook want us all to know it is not acceptable to make substitutions like wishing our friends “Happy Holidays.” It is apparently also not OK with many of these folks to use abbreviations like “Xmas.”
Those who take issue with this expression believe it is disrespectful. Some have even suggested that “Xmas” is used by people who want to strike Christ out of Christmas. They couldn't be further from the truth.
We today are used to seeing the name Jesus Christ written as though it is a first and last name , and so perhaps it never strikes us as odd that the religion is “Christianity” and the holiday is “Christmas,” but the stories we were taught in Sunday School were all about “Jesus.”
In fact, Christ is not a name but rather a title . It comes to us from the Greek Khristos (ΧριστÏŒς) meaning “anointed one.” The Greek word is itself a translation of the Hebrew, “ Messiah .”
Have you ever wondered about the labarum , that almost sword-like symbol you often see on church banners and ritual regalia? It is a christogram , a sort of monogram that symbolizes the name of Christ. It is taken from the first two letters of the Greek word Khristos , the Chi ( χ ) and the Rho ( ρ .) The symbol was adopted by the emperor Constantine after his conversion, and was part of his military standard.
The labarum , or even just the letter chi, has long been used as a sacred symbol representing the Christ. Thus we will sometimes see words like “ Xian ” or “ Xmas ” used, even in quite old documents. Our ancestors had a reverence for symbols that many of us seem to have lost today. They saw a symbol like the letter chi as a powerful emblem , and not just as an abbreviation. It's the difference between using an iconic symbol, and abbreviating because you're texting a friend.
So when you see a holiday greeting that wishes you a “Merry Xmas,” remember that the X is really a Chi, and it isn't at all about trying to remove Jesus from your holiday celebrations. It's a traditional greeting, and a strong reminder of the presence of the Anointed One in the Christmas holidays.
This is my Holidays entry for DawnWriter 's A-W Category Challenge . It is the 33rd of 36 posts I have written, spanning all of the categories here at Persona Paper.
Image credit s :
N ote: This post was adapted from one I had earlier published on Bubblews and have since removed
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/christmas-ornament-glaskugeln-435408/