Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Keep the X in Christmas

During Christmas there are many signs around saying, “Keep Christ in Christmas”. These have a good intention, and often times it is very justified and necessary for such a message, especially in this day and age. Christmas is the reason for the season, but the act of giving gifts during Christmas is not something which was always associated with it, nor is it necessary. Often, people’s reason for saying Keep Christ in Christmas is to remind people that Christmas is not there just as a material celebration and reason to give and receive gifts, but that it is meant to celebrate and worship the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is our Lord and Savior.

Where does the term X-mas originate? Some may say it’s a way of shortening the word Christmas because it can’t fit on a lot of signs. A sign might have 50 words on it, and be 10 meters across and 5 meters high, but someone might need to save 3 inches by putting X instead of Christ. This sounds a bit fishy. Well, many (including those putting X-Mas on their signs) will be surprised to know that X-Mas goes back a long way, hundreds of years ago. The first two letters of the name of Jesus in Greek is spelled XP, and the X came to represent Christ. XP is a famous Catholic symbol, and is often used on vestments of priests and places around Churches.

So now that I've established the original meaning of X-mas, in my next post, I will find out where the idea of giving gifts during Christmas comes from.

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