Is 'Xmas' an acceptable abbreviation for 'Christmas'?

There are many who are very sensitive to attempts to disassociate Jesus Christ from the celebration of Christmas—sometimes referred to as the "War on Christmas." Spelling Christmas as Xmas, some would say, is just one more attempt at this. While this could certainly be some people's intention, the use of the word Xmas did not begin as an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas.

Xmas is simply an abbreviation of Christmas. The Greek word for "Christ" is Χριστός (pronounced kris-tos) and begins with the Greek letter, "chi," which is where we get our English letter "X" from. Abbreviating Christmas is nothing new, either. As far back as the 15th century with the invention of the printing press, the church began to use abbreviations like Xmas, Xianity, and even just X for Christ to save on printing costs. Since then it has become an accepted practice to abbreviate Christmas as Xmas.

That being said, there is no denying there are legitimate attempts in our society to take Christ out of Christmas, so to speak. In pursuit of tolerance, inclusiveness, and political correctness, some are attempting to obscure the Christian origins of Christmas. Though that is not everyone's intention that uses the abbreviation Xmas, we know that there will always be those around us attempting to secularize the holiday in whatever ways they can.

As Christians, instead of getting angry or offended over the use of Xmas, our response should be one that shows the love of God. The Bible warns us that not everyone will agree with us so we shouldn't be surprised when we come across people who think differently than us on this issue (see Luke 6:22 and 1 John 3:13). We can look at it as our opportunity to keep the real meaning of Christmas alive in our families and those around us by understanding where "Xmas" originated and what it really stands for. That's just one simple way to help keep Christ in Christmas

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