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Friday, December 09, 2005

Should You Say Merry Xmas?

The war on Christmas tradition poked its head out to me when I was in third grade. Then, it was called the war on Xmas. The argument at the time was stores were X-ing out Christ out of Christmas. In the third grade I happened to be going to a Catholic school.

I was sent to Catholic schools not because my parents were Catholic, but because my parents did not believe in segregation. They were not activists, or liberal or conservative that was just how they believed in the mid fifties. And like Huntley-Brinkley on the news at the time, you could not discern which party my parents were.

Well, as the war raged that Xmas was a satanic commercial plot to remove Christ from Christmas. The nun who was teaching me gave a lecture of how this was really a war against ignorance. And ignorance was winning. Xmas was a very Christian word. And those that were saying it was a Satanic plot at the time were just ignorant.

The nun's argument was similar to this explanation found here:

"Xmas: This abbreviation for Christmas is of Greek origin. The word for Christ in Greek is Xristos. During the 16th century, Europeans began using the first initial of Christ's name, "X" in place of the word Christ in Christmas as a shorthand form of the word. Although the early Christians understood that X stood for Christ's name, later Christians who did not understand the Greek language mistook "Xmas" as a sign of disrespect."

Interestingly ignorance won that battle. The spelling of Xmas for Christmas has pretty much disappeared. History seems to repeating itself perhaps people will be more savvy, but perhaps not. Christmas to me means a time of good will to your fellow man, some have found that Christmas is a battle ground and that ill wind is blowing. And I wonder will ignorance win.


At 9:27 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...


Thank you for teaching me something this morning. I learned as a child that the X was taking Christ out of Christmas and I have never used it for that reason.

It is always a pleasure to learn something new. Thanks again!


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