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A Controversial Christmas: Xmas vs Christmas

By Jeremy Downing, Executive Producer , jeremy.downing@krdo.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:59:38 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 05 2013 09:32:52 PM CST

Now that the holidays are upon us, have you ever wondered why you sometimes see the word Christmas spelled out as Xmas?

The abbreviated use is somewhat controversial, since some believe it is a modern attempt to take ‘Christ’ out of Christmas. The truth is, the term Xmas has been in use by religious clerics since the Middle Ages as a form of shorthand.

Further research shows the X comes from the Greek letter Chi, the first letter of the Greek word for Christos, translated as 'Christ'. In fact, ‘Xtian’ has been a common shortening of the word ‘Christian’. These findings suggest Christians have used the X to abbreviate Christ, for a very long time, and is not a recent attempt at commercialization or taking religion out of Christmas.

So what it all comes down to is this: any attempt to brand the use of Xmas over Christmas as controversial, is just as fabricated as the tinsel on your tree.

As an aside, no matter how you write it, either as Christmas or Xmas, the pronunciation is the same: Christmas.

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