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Is Saying or Writing “Xmas” Sacrilegious?

A confusion surrounding Christianity involves something that is occasionally written and even stated as “Xmas”. Many Christians are under the impression that this is a sacrilegious corruption of “Christmas”. There are probably a number of atheists who believe the same thing. However, it is actually an acknowledgment of how special Jesus is and was. It isn’t sacrilegious at all. Let me explain.

First, it is important to understand that the word Christ isn’t the last name of Jesus. Rather, it is a title. Christ comes from the ancient Greek, meaning “to anoint”. The verb is actually chrio. This is an especially good title because the Bible teaches that Jesus was indeed the anointed one of God; His son. Jesus also anointed others and gave them the gift of the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit.

What does this have to do with it? Please bear with me.

Christmas literally means “The Mass of [the] Christ”. In old Greek, that would be the mass of the Christo. In other words, the mass of the anointed one. Notice here that the reference is to the anointed one, not “an” anointed one. Only one man ever lived who fit that bill and that was Jesus, who was both anointed and had the power to anoint.

Believe it or not, we are getting closer to the answer. I’m hoping to eliminate any doubt by explaining fully.

Okay, so the Christos part of Christmas, which means the anointed one in old Greek, is spelled (in old Greek), XPIΣTOΣ. Verbally rather than phonetically, the letters would be chi, rho, iota, chi, tau, omicron, chi.

Now, notice the first Greek letter in the word: X. Using just this letter to stand for the entire word gives special emphasis to the letter. Again, that is in keeping with the difference between “an” anointed one and “The” anointed one.

Thus, it isn’t sacrilege at all. Xmas is an acknowledgment that Jesus, the Christos, is the anointed Son of God, and by extension, the savior.

It is quite likely that this isn’t what atheists mean to say when they write or say “Xmas”, but in reality, they are paying homage to the Son of God.

That is the meaning of Xmas. Be honest, did you know this?

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What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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12 Comments

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  1. I did know this, so seeing Xmas doesn’t bother me. Still, though, in respect to my Christian friends and non Christian friends who don’t understand it, I defer and spell it out unless I’m Tweeting and have too many characters. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my own intent.

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  2. I would argue that the intent is what matters. If someone thinks they are taking a slap at Christianity, then they are, regardless of whether they are ignorant about their means. Leaving that aside, there are aspects to this argument you have not mentioned. Our letter X (‘ex’) and the Greek letter Χ (‘khi’ – rhymes with ‘bee’) are entirely separate and different, despite their superficial similarity. While the original intent of writing ‘Xmas’ was all good, its modern pronunciation as “Ex-mass” really does tread perilously close to sacrilege. Because what is our letter X? It means ‘extra’ in sizes: XXL; it means ‘the unknown’ (as in The X-Files, and The Man from Planet X); and of course, X rating for pornography.

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    • From that aspect, the Bible is exceptionally clear; God knows exactly what is in a man’s heart and his heart and thoughts are part of his “works”. Thus, any doubt or evil thoughts would, as Jesus said, be the same as committing the acts the person was thinking of. As He put it, under the old covenant, committing adultery was a major sin. Under the new covenant, even thinking of committing adultery would be a major sin and as bad as the committing the act.

      Still, what we now call Christmas came directly from the old Greek for the mass of the anointed one, so the Greek letter, X, was originally used to add significance to the meaning of Xmas, regardless of what people think of it today. The philosophical debates are best left for other times and places. After all, all indications are that Jesus was born in the spring when the sheep and cattle were giving birth (which would be when they were lowing), so most scholars place His birth at between late March and late April. The point is that the actual meaning of Xmas is far from being sacrilegious.

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