For years, I took offense when I saw people substitute Christ’s name with the letter X. I had bought into the idea that a youth Sunday School teacher had perpetuated — non-Christians wanted to hijack our Christmas holiday, but leave Christ out of it.
It wasn’t until my young adult years, after befriending a theology major at a local seminary, that I learned the true meaning of the X.
It’s not really an X at all. We see it as an X, because of our English alphabet, but when used in this manner, X is actually the Greek letter “chi.” Chi is the first letter in the word Χριστός (Christos ), which means “Christ.” X has been an acceptable shortening of the word “Christ” for nearly a thousand years, way before modern day Christians began taking offense at its use.
In fact, The Greek letters “X” (Chi) and “p” (Rho) melded together was once a very common symbol signifying Christ and was called the Chi-Rho. The Chi-Rho was also used by scribes to mark a passage, implying that it was “good”.
So the next time, someone writes Merry Xmas on a letter or card, remember that they are not “taking Christ out of Christmas.” They are simply teaching you a little Greek, and no offense is intended.