This is something I wrote a few years ago that I like to re-post each and every Christmas holiday season.
This time of the year can be rather stressful — here’s one more thing you don’t need to fuss about.
I had an epiphany of sorts quite a few years ago about this particular topic and feel like I need to help a few more people see the light. Ignorance is not bliss… it just makes “us” Christians look like _____! You fill in the blank.
I grew up thinking that those who used the abbreviation “Xmas” were trying to cross out Christ / taking Christ out of Christmas. I’m sure you’ve heard that explanation a thousand times, but have you taken the time to dig into the history of the phrase?
A few years ago my Mom told me she had always cut the ends of the pot roast off before putting it in the pan, as did her Mother and her Mother’s Mother. One day she wondered why they did this before cooking it, so she asked. Her Grandmother replied… “Because the roasts never fit in the pan!” Over the years the pans got bigger and the roasts actually fit but something had become a tradition and they were doing it without even knowing why.
That started me thinking about a lot of things…
I used to let “Xmas” bother me, to permeate my belief system without even knowing why, it became a tradition to despise and even debate about.
Then I did a little digging of my own. Did you know that by the 15th Century,”Xmas” had emerged as a widely used symbol for Christmas?!
Let me explain.
  1. The Greek letter for Christ {Cristos} is very similar to the letter X – Χριστός, is Christ in Greek. A symbol that was used as early as the 4th century by Emperor Constantine.
  2. In the early part of the 1400’s, the printing press with movable type was invented. In the early days this was all done by hand and was very tedious and very, very expensive. As a result, abbreviations were common.
The church began to use the abbreviation X for the word “Christ” to cut down on the cost of the production of books and pamphlets. From there, it moved into general use in newspapers and other publications. “Xmas” became an accepted way of printing “Christmas” {along with the abbreviations Xian and Xianity}. Even Webster’s dictionary acknowledges that the abbreviation Xmas was in common use by the middle of the sixteenth century.
There is no grand scheme to dilute Christianity by promoting the use of Xmas instead of Christmas. It is not a modern invention to try to convert Christmas into a “secular” day, nor is it a device to promote commercialism. Its origin is thoroughly rooted in the heritage of the Church. It is simply another way to say Christmas. Period.
As with other abbreviations used in common speech or writing (such as Mr. or etc.), the abbreviation “Xmas” should be pronounced “Christmas” just as if the word were written out in full, rather than saying “exmas.”
Understanding this use of Christian symbolism might help us modern day Xians focus on more important issues of the Faith during this time of year, and bring a little more Peace to the Xmas Season.
Now that you are a little more informed… doesn’t it seems a tad silly to get all up in arms about something so largely irrelevant and in fact something that we Christians began in the first place?!
Rather than boycotting, picketing, getting offended and arguing this Christmas…
How about we just LOVE like Christ did?! It’s less about how you greet people and more about how you treat people!
Joyeux Noël à tous mes amis.


I'm the Cool Mom of 4, Married to the Preacher Man, but at times I'm a little more Sass than Saint!

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  1. Fascinating! I used the abbreviation Xmas on something just the other day and someone commented on my use of it – since I am a Christian. I was pretty sure that the "x" simply referred to Christ – rather than eliminating him – I just didn't know the full explanation. Now I do.
    Also, I am pretty sure I read somewhere that when those who were Christians living in Communist countries wanted to have a bible study – without being detected – they would would hand out maps with an "X" on the spot where the bible study would take place.

  2. Oh I like that added information! Thank you.

  3. Excellent post!

    I thought I would add a humorous addition. When Samual Clemens (Mark Twain) was a typesetter's apprentice in his youth, he abbreviated Jesus Christ in type to "JC" to save time. His boss was furious and demanded that he spell the name out every time.

    To spite his boss, he started writing the name in full:

    "Jesus H. Christ"

    Needless to say, the boss was not amused…

  4. This is very good information for those who did not know about Merry Xmas Because X is a sign and mostly people don`t know about that.

  5. I use Xmas quite a bit but it was because I had to write out so many cards when we didn't have computers! I also knew the X meant Christ so I didn't even think I would offend anybody. I still use the xmas however not as often, thanks for the post very interesting, and yes the way we treat each other is much more important, here is a saying I heard,
    "People will not remember what you say but they will remember how you made them feel".

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