Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Chaos

The word "Christ" and its compounds, including "Christmas", have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern "Xmas" was commonly used. "Christ" was often written as "XP" or "Xt"; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as AD 1021. This X and P arose as the uppercase forms of the Greek letters χ and ρ used in ancient abbreviations for Χριστος (Greek for "Christ"), and are still widely seen in many Eastern Orthodox icons depicting Jesus Christ. The labarum, an amalgamation of the two Greek letters rendered as , is a symbol often used to represent Christ in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian Churches.

The labarum, often called the Chi-Rho, is a Christian symbol representing Christ.

The occasionally held belief that the "X" represents the cross on which Christ was crucified also has no basis in fact. St Andrew's Cross is X-shaped, but Christ's cross was probably shaped like a T or a †.

Indeed, X-as-chi was associated with Christ long before X-as-cross could be, since the cross as a Christian symbol developed later. (The Greek letter Chi Χ stood for "Christ" in the ancient Greek acrostic ΙΧΘΥΣ ichthys.) While some see the spelling of Christmas as Xmas a threat, others see it as a way to honor the martyrs. The use of X as an abbreviation for "cross" in modern abbreviated writing (e.g. "King's X" for "King's Cross") may have reinforced this assumption.

In ancient Christian art, χ and χρ are abbreviations for Christ's name.[9] In many manuscripts of the New Testament and icons, X is an abbreviation for Christos, as is XC (the first and last letters in Greek, using the lunate sigma); compare IC for Jesus in Greek.

(The above was taken directly from Wikipedia, and can be viewed in it's fullness here)

This is not a plea that we should all love and enjoy seeing XMAS instead of Christmas on signs or in print. Because, yes, we live in a culture where "XMAS" is thought of as "taking Christ out of Christmas."
If you are like me, you were told that from a Christian who was told that by a Christian.
But the reality is--that is simply not true.

This post is simply meant to spark a thought in your mind about how to react towards people who don't believe the same thing as you.

I know plenty of well meaning and good hearted Christians who get all up in arms when they see an "X" in place of Christmas or hear "Happy Holidays" instead of Merry Christmas.
I quickly think of the story of Uzzah. (2 Samuel 6:4-7)
God gave instruction for no one to touch the Ark, the priest of Israel are following it back to Jerusalem pulled by ox and it hits a pothole and the Ark starts to fall off the cart, Uzzah reaches up to catch it and is struck dead by God.

Can you hear that conversation in Heaven?
Uzzah---Um, God? Hey, I was just trying to help....did you see what was about to happen?
God--- I did. But Uzzah, I don't need your help. I can take care of it.
Uzzah---Good point, God. So it would have been better for me to not catch the Ark and let it crash, huh.
Uzzah---I don't know what I was thinking, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

You get the point.

This Christmas lets have a little less chaos by not trying to "help" God out by defending things that really don't matter.
I've discovered the world already knows what we stand against; we typically shout those out pretty loud.
Let's show them the things we are for.

Merry Christmas!


  1. love the line on the new U2 album...stop helping God cross the street like a little old lady...nice one vince.

  2. ah!!! yes that is the best line in the song! wished I would have remembered it! would have put it in.
    Thanks Brian!!!


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