The word Xmas does not stand for Christmas

The world is about to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity. 

Before celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ annually on the 25th December—Christmas— Christians and non Christians around this time of the year exchanged gifts for various reasons.

However, the abbreviation of the name Christ by the letter ‘X’ in the word Christmas is not encouraged. Instead of writing the word Christmas in full, some people tend to shorten it to X-mass or Xmas.

Those who are pro Xmas say, the “-mas” part of the word is from the Latin-derived Old English word Mass, while the “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word which translated into English is “Christ.”

However, according to Wikipedia, the Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage states that the word ‘Xmas’ should be considered informal and restricted to contexts where concision is valued, such as in headlines and on greeting cards.

The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, while acknowledging the ancient and respectful use of “Xmas” in the past, states that the spelling should never be used in formal writing. In the 1948 Vogue’s Book of Etiquette, Millicent Fenwick, states that “’Xmas’ should never be used” on greeting cards.

For ‘true’ Christians any attempt to remove the religious meaning behind Christmas by taking the word “Christ” out is considered disrespectful. The abbreviation ‘Xmas’ dates back to the 16th century and was regarded as pagan.

Christian teaching regard the Bible as a book of guidelines and for reference. In the Bible, Jesus is referred to by only one name, while occasionally supplemented with the name of his father or his hometown. Thus, in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as “Jesus of Nazareth” (Matthew 26:71), “Joseph’s son” (Luke 4:22) and “Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth” (John 1:45).

However, in the King James Version of the Bible Mark 6:3, rather than being called the son of Joseph, he is referred to as “the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon”. In the Old Testament Jesus is referred to as Emmanuel (Immanuel).

In Isaiah 7:14 the prophet gives a prophecy of Jesus but with a different name, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son and she will call His name Emmanuel.” In Matthew 1:21, it says, “….for it is He who will save His people from their sins.”

Emmanuel literally means “God is with us.” Full Gospel Bible Fellowship Church, Bishop Zachary Kakobe says that born again Christians should not succumb to the pagan trap in observing the birthday of Christ by replacing His name with the letter “X”.

“A Christian should never ever write the letter ‘X’ in place of Christ in anything regarding Christmas,” Bishop Kakobe told the Sunday congregation fortnight ago, “that is paganism. A trick by satan to hide Jesus’ glory.”

The Bishop, who is the founder of Full Gospel Bible Fellowship church in Tanzania which has over 400 branches countrywide, said, “Let them use the letter ‘X’ but not we born-again Christians this is blasphemy against Christ and Christianity.”

In the United Kingdom, former Church of England Bishop of Blackburn, Alan Chesters, recommended to his clergy that they avoid abbreviating the word Christmas. 

In the United States, in 1977 New Hampshire Governor Meldrim Thomson sent out a press release saying that he wanted journalists to keep the ‘Christ’ in Christmas and not call it Xmas—which he called a ‘pagan’ spelling of Christmas.

Others who are against the use of the letter ‘X’ for Christ, is US evangelist and missionary Franklin Graham who told CNN journalist Roland Martin in an interview: “For us as Christians, this is one of the most holy of the holidays, the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ. And for people to take Christ out of Christmas. They’re happy to say merry Xmas. Let’s just take Jesus out.

And really, I think, this is a war against the name of Jesus Christ.” According to ancienthistory about.com, Emperor Constantine had a great vision that made him convert to Christianity, in the vision, he saw the Greek letters Chi and Rho intertwined. Chi is written as an ‘X’ and Rho is written as a ‘P’, but they are the first two letters of the Greek word Christ ‘saviour’. ‘XP’ is sometimes used to stand for Christ.

Sometimes the letter ‘X’ is used alone. This is the case in the Chi (X) abbreviation for Christ in Xmas. “Thus, Xmas is not directly a way of secularising the holiday, but since ‘X’ is not Chi in English, we read the word as X-mas and see no connection with Christ,”ancienthistory. about.com indicates. 

Bishop Kakobe says Christmas is all about the celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ to earth for the sole purpose of saving us from our sins.

“And she will bring forth a Son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins,” Bishop Kakobe quoting the Bible said.
Source: Daily News, reported by Abduel Elinaza from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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