It's that time of year again: Storefronts littered with the newest toys, your local Hallmark store touting their shiniest wrapping papers, and not a single parking spot to be found at the mall. Yeah, it's Xmas... oops, I'm sorry, Christmas time again.
As any regular church-goer (and probably quite a few who aren't) knows, around Christmas time, the Protestant and Catholic gung-hos love to talk about how 'X is no substitute for Christ'. There are poems, signs, buttons, bumperstickers, and all manner of what-have-you about this subject, and yet what many don't seem to realize is that, yes, X is a substitute for Christ. Quite a suitable one, actually. So excuse me, but please get over your X.
Hold on Jim Bakker. Stop right there, Billy Graham. Before I hear one more inane sermon about America trying to remove God from our culture, let's look at a few key facts, shall we?
"In words from Greek, x transliterates the 14th Greek letter, xi,... The formal Greek correspondent of x was chi, hence it is used in phonetics to represent a velar fricative like 'ch' in loch."
Basically, this means that in the Greek language
, the 'x' would be parallel to 'ch' when it makes a 'k' sound. Thusly, the 'X' so readily replaces 'Christ', as the Greek
spelling for it is ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, which, when using English characters, is roughly XPICTOC.
Many centuries ago, copies of the scripture had to be hand written; therefore, commonly used terms were abbreviated using the first letter of the word. The original four gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were written in Greek and so the abbreviation of X for Christ remained.
So perhaps in the future, instead of so many Christians being up in arms about the 'X' in Xmas, we could all hear a bit of truth about its origins.