I Love the Symbol “Xmas”
by Catherine Jordan
Since I was a young girl, I have loved to use the symbol “Xmas” in informal notes and writing. Always curious about words and meanings, I was told that “X” stood for Christ. Later I learned that the X is the Greek letter “Chi” in the word Christos and that the early Christians identified themselves with this symbol. In my romantic mind, when I write “Xmas,” I identify with those early Christians!
As I’ve grown older, I have seen such depth in the letter “X”: to me, it not only symbolizes Christos, but, as I write “Xmas,” I get a mental picture of His cross as he carried it up the hill of Calvary for me. AS the cross rested across His shoulders, bending His body down under the load, it formed a kind of “X.” I think, too, of that well-known idiom “X marks the spot” (where the body lay!), and I see an empty tomb! Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, anyway?
Some say, “Oh, ‘X’ stands for the unknown!” YES, doesn’t it? Praise the LORD! Once He was unknown to me. Paul preached to a people who worshipped, among other gods, an Unknown God. Now, thanks to the Holy Spirit, I know Him, and I am growing in that knowledge, but I must not forget that there are millions who are dead in their sins who do not know Him! I realize anew, that I must be Christ among men and make Him known.
“X” confronts me daily, for each morning I stand at a spiritual X-roads. I must choose which path I will take this day. Will I go my own way, following the crowd and denying His Lordship, or will I “lean not unto mine own understanding” but let Him lead the way?
“X” also stands for multiplication! When I write “Xmas” sometimes, I have to lay down my pen, wipe the tears away, and say, “Glory! Glory! Glory!” for the “loaves and fishes” that He has multiplied in my life!
“X” has come to mean in our modern life the ultimate in evil. Anything that is truly bad is “X-rated.” Well, my sweet Jesus became just that. He was “X-rated.” His visage was so marred; He was despised and rejected… for me! Oh, the enormity of it! He—the only begotten of the Father, the Holy One of Israel—became SIN for me (nobody of nothing)!
I love to write “Xmas”! Please, Xian friend, don’t censure me or try to take away this blessing by being blind to what the “X” in XMAS means to me.
After ministering in Aurora, IL for a number of years in the 1970s, where her husband Jake pastored a Baptist church and she taught high school English at Aurora Christian School, they returned to their native Alabama, where Jake died a number of years ago. Catherine now lives in a nursing home there. (This essay was posted on a friend’s facebook page the other day. She calls Kay her “friend and mentor.”)