Having just come through the Christmas season I thought it would be a good time to look at an age old debate that always resurfaces during that time. I am speaking of the use of “Xmas” rather than “Christmas”.
As any of you who have been in Christianity very long know, this subject can be very polarizing. The secular world, in an attempt to avoid any mention or use of the Savior, have preferred the use of “Xmas” as it does not contain the name Jesus or Christ, unlike the use of “Christmas”…or does it?
Many years ago I worked with an elderly retired gentleman who was my bosses’ father. To supplement his retirement income he would work with us two or three days a week. During that time I heard him use a phrase countless times: “Ignorance is dominant. It takes over EVERYTHING it touches.” Through my many years of ministry I have come to learn just how true this statement is. In fact, it is the most ignorant people who want to lead others in every heated business meeting, theological discussion or political debate.
There is a statement in our English Bible with which most of us are familiar: “I do not want you to be ignorant brothers.” The Apostle Paul uses this statement at least four times in his letters, (Rom. 1:13, 1 Cor. 12:1, 2 Cor. 1:8 and 1 Thess. 4:13). As such, it seems to have great theological significance to the people to whom Paul was writing. He was warning them about not knowing something they should know.
The Greek word used in all of the above places is the word “agnoeo” and is found in 14 different grammatical forms in the New Testament. It simply means, “Not to know, be ignorant, not to understand, to ignore or disregard”. It is both an expression of not having been taught something or having been taught it and choosing to ignore or disregard it, (Willing ignorance).
So what does the use of “Xmas” have to do with ignorance? Let’s take a look.
The debate goes something like this: “If you use the term Xmas you are taking Christ out of Christmas. This holiday is about his birth and we should keep his name in it!” The real question we should be asking is, “Is this really true?”
In the Greek language the name Jesus Christ is “Ιησούς Χριστός”. Notice the first letter in the word we translate “Christ”. It is an X or in Greek it would be called a “Chi”. During the time of the Roman persecution of the Body of Christ, (Approximately 64 AD to 312 AD), any believer of “The Way” was in danger of a horrible death if it was found out. One of the ways the early believers could secretly communicate their faith was by simply using the symbol “X” which showed that they believed in Christ. They would place this symbol on their houses so other believers would know this was a home which believed.
The use of this symbol carried on long after Constantine decriminalized Christianity in the Roman Empire and the persecution ended. In fact, among early believers, the X became associated with the cross of Christ as Romans were known to have used an X shaped cross as well as the traditional T shaped one. Later, the believers would wear an X on their clothing and the more wealthy ones might even wear an X shaped piece of jewelry, not unlike the gold crosses many believers wear today. All of this was done to associate themselves with other believers. Unfortunately, we have turned this issue around and now use it to separate ourselves from each other.
So the debate we have sparked over the use of “Xmas” is based solely on ignorance as it is exactly the same thing as “Christmas”. In fact, when I hear someone trying to be politically correct and say “Merry Xmas” I just smile to myself and respond, “It sure is, and Merry Xmas to you too.”
Never be afraid of ignorance. Stand up, armed with the truth, and teach people not to walk in human anger or hate. Neither of these will ever produce the godly life Jesus has for us, (See James 1:20). Ignorance has separated us from each other and from an intimate walk with Jesus. But truth will transform the Body of Christ into a mighty Spiritual army which cannot be stopped.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 CSB
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13 CSB
R.A.G.E. Ministries, INC