Christmas brings with it many things—time with family, shopping, entertainment… and, the occasional fuss over “Merry Xmas.” Here’s a reason why we maybe don’t need to get quite so irked about it:
People seem to express chagrin about seeing Christ’s name dropped and replaced by this symbol for an unknown quantity X. Every year you see the signs and the bumper stickers saying, “Put Christ back into Christmas” as a response to this substitution of the letter X for the name of Christ.
First of all, you have to understand that it is not the letter X that is put into Christmas. We see the English letter X there, but actually what it involves is the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. Christos is the New Testament Greek for Christ. The first letter of the Greek word Christos is transliterated into our alphabet as an X. That X has come through church history to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ…
The idea of X as an abbreviation for the name of Christ came into use in our culture with no intent to show any disrespect for Jesus. The church has used the symbol of the fish historically because it is an acronym. Fish in Greek (ichthus) involved the use of the first letters for the Greek phrase “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” So the early Christians would take the first letter of those words and put those letters together to spell the Greek word for fish. That’s how the symbol of the fish became the universal symbol of Christendom. There’s a long and sacred history of the use of X to symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect.
Last week, I kicked off the relaunch of Blogging Theologically with a pretty incredible giveaway sponsored by Crossway. I was completely blown away by the response! Out of more than 125 entrants, the winner is… Shannon Craig! Congratulations and Merry (early) Christmas!
There’s still time to win $50 worth of merchandise (of your choice), courtesy of the Ligonier Affiliates program—enter before 5 PM EST Today! And be on the lookout for another great giveaway this month!
In Other News
Decor: Just in time for Christmas, Mark Altrogge wants to help you spruce up your decorating with the Christian Leaders Inflatable Lawn Ornament collection.
Ethics: Jared Wilson (citing Randy Alcorn) on the ethics of ghostwriting
Networking: This week, Erik Kowalker, Matthew Blair and Nick Uva launched the Reformed Quotes Fellowship, “a gathering of such like minded people who wish to see the fame of Christ spread throughout the internet by the use of God glorifying, cross centered, gospel rich, and unashamedly reformed quotes from saints of the past and present.” There are some fantastic sites among the membership, like J.C. Ryle Quotes and The Daily Spurgeon among others. Go check them out.
In Case You Missed It
With Christmas fast approaching, it was a children’s book oriented week with reviews of:
Halfway Herbert by Francis Chan
The Church History ABCs by Stephen J. Nichols and Ned Bustard
The Mighty Acts of God Bible Storybook by Starr Meade and Tim O’Connor