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By Chris Head
The idea of using “X” in place of Christ is not a modern idea. In the Modern Roman Alphabet, which comes from the Greeks who were before Rome, the first letter of the word “Christ” is “chi” which is represented by a symbol similar to the letter “X.”
X in Ancient Greek is pronounced as the hard “ch.” The Greek Chi or X is the first letter in the Greek word Christos as in Iesus Christos aka Jesus Christ. You will frequently see people write Xmas, as well as Xian, which means Christian, using the same principle.
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. 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. It’s really not the word Xmas fault, but our ignorance. Some may use Xmas today as an unchristian shortcut for Christmas, but the ancient abbreviation by no means originated as such so if those who wish to secularize Christmas really knew their own history and etymology they’d stop using the old (before 1551 AD, before the KJV was translated) way of writing out the word for Christ in Greek. The scribes who copied New Testament manuscripts had no intention of taking Christ out of the New Testament. They used the abbreviation simply to save time and space.
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