The X in X-Mas by Griffin Paul Jackson December 21, 2018

Posted on December 1, 2019.

     The abbreviation offends 6 in 10 evangelicals, but its history is deeply Christian. The great irony in the distaste for the term “X-mas” is that it is thoroughly Christian, rather than an effort to remove the word Christ from the holiday. The “X” in X-mas is not really an “X” at all. It’s chi, the Greek letter at the start of the word Christ, or Christos (Χριστός). Since the earliest era of political Christendom, “X” has been used as a shorthand for Christ                                                                                     Constantine, the first emperor to convert to Christianity and whose Edict of Milan sought to free Christians from persecution, instructed his soldiers to inscribe the letter on their shields before the landmark Battle of Milvian Bridge. The chi “X” was paired with “P,” representing the Greek letter rho, the first two letters of and a signifier for the name Christ. Legend has it, the chi rho symbol came to Constantine in a vision.                                                    Using “X” as an abbreviation for Christ is also thought to have appeared in many Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.Even incorporating “X” into an English-language abbreviation for Christmas dates back a millennium. In the year 1021, an Anglo-Saxon scribe condensed Christmas to “XPmas,” and eventually the “P” was dropped to shorten the term even further.                    “The X in Christmas is used like the R in R. C. My given name at birth was Robert Charles, although before I was even taken home from the hospital my parents called me by my initials, R.C., and nobody seems to be too scandalized by that,” he said in his response, now posted on the Ligonier Ministries website.                                                            “There’s a long and sacred history of the use of X to symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect.”