Xmas vs. Christmas
I have received a few questions about the “Xmas” program on our school sign. Why Xmas and not Christmas? Is this an attempt to remove Christ from Christmas?
No! The person who put up the sign did not have enough copies of the letter C and Xmas is a common abbreviation for Christmas.
I didn’t realize how vehement the culture wars around Christmas had become and in particular how the word “xmas” had become misconstrued as an attempt to remove Christ from Christmas. I did some digging and here is some information about the origin of Xmas as an abbreviation:
Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas . It is sometimes pronounced /ˈɛksməs/, but it, and variants such asXtemass, originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation /ˈkrɪsməs/. The “-mas” part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass, while the “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek wordΧριστός which comes into English as “Christ“.
There is a common misconception that the word Xmas stems from a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas by taking the “Christ” out of “Christmas”, but its use dates back to the 16th century.
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xmas (emphasis added), Snopes.com has a similar explanation
The X in Xmas is an abbreviation using the Greek chi (X), the first letter of the word “Christ” (in Greek). It has been used for at least four centuries, primarily by Christians. However, in today’s culture wars it is often understood as an attempt to remove Christ from Christmas. So, should we change the sign? Take a look.
Whatever you think about the Xmas vs. Christmas debate, be sure to keep the focus this season (and always) on Christ our savior who loved us so much He became one of us to save us from our sins.
Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood