Putting the X back in Xmas
Many Christians complain about the shortening of Christmas to Xmas. Most people don’t seem to know that the “X” is not a capital “x”, but a capital “χ”, or Chi, the Greek letter that begins the word χριστοϛ, or Christos. So, Xmas is not “crossing out Christ” or “removing Christ from Christmas”, as many would have you believe. There’s even a Wikipedia page that deals with this myth.
It raises some interesting questions, though. Should secular people want to remove Christ from Christmas? Or should they forgo the celebration of Christmas altogether?
I would answer No to both questions. Culture is a complex thing. Many an everyday event has its roots in some kind of religious or superstitious past. I see no need to pretend Christmas has nothing to do with Christianity, and the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I won’t be hiding that fact from my son when he is old enough to ask questions. But nor will I be hiding from him the fact that Winter Solstice was celebrated on December 25 (or thereabouts) for thousands of years before Christianity came along, and that many of the elements involved in the celebration of Christmas (and Easter) stem from pagan traditions. Loads of things we take for granted have pagan backgrounds. Just for one more example, apart from our own, all the planets of our solar system were named after Greek/Roman gods (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, even Pluto, whether it qualifies as a planet or not).
So sure, let’s put the X back in Xmas. But let’s also put the Thor back in Thursday.