X is for Christ(mas)

This title may look all-together odd, and to some even blasphemous. It’s not technically in the bible, but I’m taking a little ABC Wednesday liberty since the only X-person in the bible is Xerxes. And he’s a very confusing figure when one begins to research him historically.

So let’s broach this volatile subject instead.

There are two base camps. Those who think using X as a abbreviation for Christ is okay and those who think it’s an assault on Christianity. I must admit, I used to cringe every time I saw Xmas…until recently.

After remembering a few historical details, it appears I was too quick to judge. Thinking back to my my good ol’ college sorority days, I remembered X represents the 22nd letter of the Greek Alphabet…Chi, which I’m sure you notice is the first part of the word Christ. The word Christ has been abbreviated in both English and ancient writing for more than 1,000 years. Some Eastern Orthodox religions still abbreviate Christ with X as part of the symbol.

Historically, the Greeks Christians commonly used XP or Xt when writing the name Jesus Christ.

Chi Rho is one of the earliest forms of christogram, and is used by Christians. It is formed by superimposing the first two (capital) letters chi and rho (ΧΡ) of the Greek word “ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ” =Christ in such a way to produce the monogram. Although not technically a cross, the Chi Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus as well as symbolizing his status as the Christ.[1]

The Chi-Rho symbol was also used by pagan Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for chrēston, meaning “good.”[2][3] Some coins of Ptolemy III Euergetes were marked with a Chi-Rho.[4] (wikipedia)

And in the 4th century, the infamous Roman Emperor Constantine took the symbol a step further.

The labarum (Greek: λάβαρον) was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the “Chi-Rho” symbol , formed from the first two Greek letters of the word “Christ” (Greek: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) — Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ).[1] It was used by the Roman emperor Constantine I. Since the vexillum consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross, it was ideally suited to symbolize the crucifixion of Christ. (wikipedia)

So there is a long, long history of Christians using X as an abbreviation for Jesus Christ. And no one should get their panties all twisted up about it. The real question is what you intend the symbol to mean.

And, as a last note, the Roman numeral for 10 is X. If you understand bible symbolism, ten is one of the numbers that represent “completeness.” Coincidence?

In any case, X marks the spot…in more ways than one.

Sub­mitted for ABC Wednesday


11 thoughts on “X is for Christ(mas)

  1. I do know its ok but I have to admit I still cringe. Old patterns are hard to break. So I’ll continue to use Christmas but not judge others that do.
    Have a wonderful New Year Lisa. May it be filled with joy and happiness.


  2. I have recently learned some of what you have on this blog and I do understand that Xmas is not what I thought it was a few years ago. But like photowannabe old habits die hard and I think I will still have to use Christmas and certainly not get upset with those who use Xmas — unless they use it with malevolent intentions, which has been known to happen. By the way, I did Xerxes once for X and he is somewhat confusing, but all that history is SO interesting.
    Have a blessed New Year. I visit your blogs if I do not always comment


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