Question: Why Is There an X in Xmas? Isn't It Sacrilegious?
Some Christians complain that the abbreviation Xmas for Christmas is part of a move to secularize the holiday, to take the Christ out of Christmas, but this isn't really justified.
Answer: It is said that when the Emperor Constantine had his great vision that caused him to convert to Christianity, he saw the Greek letters Chi and Rho intertwined. Chi is written as an 'X' and Rho is written as a 'P', but they are the first two letters of the Greek word Christ 'savior'. 'XP' is sometimes used to stand for Christ. Sometimes X is used alone. This is the case in the Chi (X) abbreviation for Christ in Xmas. Thus, Xmas is not directly a way of secularizing the holiday, but since 'X' is not Chi in English, we read the word as X-mas and see no connection with Christ.
Sacrilegious, an adjective some have applied to the Xmas spelling, is easy to misspell. It looks as though it should be "sac-" plus the word religious, but it isn't. Instead, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it comes from the Latin phrase sacrum legere "to steal sacred things."
Index of Early Christianity FAQs
- When were the 10 persecutions of Christians?
- Why is it Xmas?
- What does theotokos mean?
- Which nation first adopted Christianity?
- Who were the disciples in The Last Supper, by daVinci?
- Who are the archangels?
- What are the 10 Commandments?
- When was the Exodus?
- What were the 10 Egyptian Plagues
- What are the 12 tribes of Israel?