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Have A Hard Time with “X-mas” ?

The use of X-mas in place of Christmas is something that bothers a lot of people and I hope to shed a little light on that practice.

There are Christians all over the Internet and In Real Life who get really upset when they see the abbreviation “Xmas“.  Those who object feel that somehow in using X,  the name of Christ is X’d out.   Honestly, I had never heard that until the advent of the Internet.  Most everyone I’ve ever known has used Xmas at sometime or other, especially when they’re in a hurry with their Christmas cards or letters.

Xmas isn’t sinister or demeaning to the Name of Jesus Christ.  Its simply an abbreviation used since the beginning of Christianity.  It is a combination of the first two Greek letters that make up the word Christ; Christos.  The first two letters are chi and rho. Here is a very old symbol used in many protestant Churches today using the chi and rho in addition to the alpha and omega. It has the meaning of Christ being the Alpha and Omega, or the Beginning and the End.

The X is the Chi.  The middle character that looks like a big P or a small r is the Rho. Then you can see the Alpha and the Omega on the left and right of the Chi Rho.  If you don’t want to use the abbreviation, that’s fine.  But now you know that its not wrong to use Xmas in fact, when you use it you are joining millions of Christians throughout history who have used it to represent Christ.


  1. Trish

    Thanks for posting this, Sylvia. I think I may have mentioned this on your board a while back. It seemed several of the ladies were offended by the X in Xmas and I hoped to help them understand.

  2. Sylvia

    Hi Carol,
    Thank you for your input. I actually know some Asian people personally, but none of them have any knowledge of the X in Xmas meaning Unknown. If it is an actual thing then it must not be very widespread.

    I think Paul’s admonishment about being all things to all people in order to bring some to Christ are appropriate in this situation (1 Cor 9:19-23). If you live in a place where the X in Xmas could be misunderstood, then I think it would be wise not to use it.

  3. carol

    HI gloria,
    If you write it like that chi rho, then that is good.
    But there is another meaning that was taught to us in asia…you see in algebra, x stands for the unknown, And so by substituting x for Christ, we are saying that we do not know what x stands for..as in the x in algebra. WE write the whole word, Christmas.

  4. mickdess

    Thanks for posting this, Sylvia! I know in my church the Chi Rho is always a part of our Christmas (or Xmas) tree in the sanctuary. I knew there was symbolism with the X, but couldn’t remember exactly what it was. (It’s been a while since Confirmation classes!) Thanks for taking the time to educate us.