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Is it Xmas or Christmas?

Guest blogger Alan Scobie

When I was about 10 years old, it was Christmas, and I remember hearing a family friend tackle the "Xmas" word. "People need to stop taking Christ out of Christmas" he said, and I daresay there was solid agreement from all the adults present. I have heard that phrase repeated many times since, and I expect you have too. It's probably a fact that many a commercial outfit have used "Xmas" for trendy marketing purposes, and quite possibly secular organisations with an axe to grind with Christianity have jumped on the same bandwagon, believing it to strike a blow against the faith undercurrent that has prevailed for centuries at Christmas. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have a wee chortle when Xmas seems to be used as a means to erase the name of our Saviour at this time of year. What most do not seem to realise is that Xmas is putting Christ even more firmly into Christmas. Even here in the UK, "X" was used instead of "Christ" as far back as the 1400 and 1500's, and not at all for irreligious reasons. This harks back to a very early tradition that our earliest Christian forebears employed to give special meaning to sacred words related to Jesus. Our most ancient New Testament manuscripts, going right back to the 2nd century, show the use of the letter X as an abbreviation for Christ, often combined with another letter to form an artistic ligature. (the New Testament was first written down in koine Greek and X is the letter "Ch", used as a special abbreviation for "Christos" (Greek Χριστός). So, if you get a Christmas card this year with Xmas, or see some shop advertising their Xmas wears, rejoice!

Those early believers would have recognised Jesus instantly, and our Lord is being embedded deeply, presently, and historically into Christmas.

Merry Xmas everyone! Are there Christmas traditions around us today that you feel are not appropriate, or that diminish the story of Jesus’ birth?

Comments are welcomed on this post.

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