Christmas or Xmas….. How many times have you seen or heard comments about the use of word “Xmas” or “keeping Christ” in Christmas?
Though the remarks may be well intentioned, they give the impression that using Xmas is somehow maligning the holiness of the season. Not true.
The use of X as an abbreviation for Christ dates back to the early middle ages or really to the ancient persecuted church. X stands/stood for Xpistos (Christ) in Greek.
Look around today and you will see on cars the sticker with the fish on it. This is an ancient acronym, IXTHUS. Greek meaning JESUS CHRIST SON OF GOD, SAVIOR.
The 1st letter of each word of this statement of FAITH happens to spell out fish in Greek. The fish, therefore, is a statement of faith about Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ (Messiah) and X stands for the title Christ which means anointed one.
How Santa Claus Began…. Saint Nicholas, whose name was changed over the years to Santa Claus, was a real person, a bishop in the church in the fourth century.
Back in Saint Nicholas’ time a young woman had to have a dowry before she could be married. To help a poor nobleman with three daughters, Saint Nicholas anonymously tossed three bags of gold through the nobleman’s window. He did not want to be praised for his generosity as he gave for the joy of giving. However, the nobleman found out who had given the gold for his daughters’ dowries and after that anonymous gifts of charity often were attributed to Saint Nicholas.
This straightforward story morphed over the years. Originally Saint Nicholas was dressed in his traditional Bishop’s robes. It wasn’t until the 20th century that he began to be dressed in the red and white outfit in which he appears to us now in the persons of his many “helpers.”
Although Jesus, the Messiah is the most important person in the Christmas season, Saint Nicholas conveys a spirit of generosity and love. We remember him and we too give gifts.
If Santa Claus has become too commercial perhaps it is because we have forgotten his historical origin as the beloved Bishop of Myra who obeyed Christ’s command that we help all those who are in need.