It's a question we might not stop to ask. We might think we know. We might not care.
But for a lover of words-used-well, it's a normal wondering of my mind.
Turns out, there are quite a few answers, depending on who you ask.
Some say the word Christmas is a shortened representation of Christ's Mass, a practice of the Catholic church.
And what of those who shorten it completely and rather than write Christmas, they only put the energy forth to write Xmas? For years it has frustrated me to see this shortcut. For if we're going to cut anything short in the word it certainly should not be the "Christ" part. At 54 years of age, i've finally learned the reason behind this practice. The X in "Xmas" is the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter of the name "Christ" in that language.
For decades it's rubbed-my-fur-wrong when someone "left out Christ" in the writing of Christmas by shortening it to Xmas. Thank goodness for a quick internet search that has brought a digestible answer to that confusion.
Yesterday i sat in church and heard yet another sharing of the reason we celebrate the season. It's the same wonderful story ----- it does not change ----- it's worth celebrating.
But goodness knows without the Christ part, it would simple be a man-made-holiday.
Christmas is, as someone has said, when God came down the stairs of Heaven with a baby in his arms.
Could we just let that image settle in our minds, soften our souls, and set a right pace for the season?
Whether we know the true origin of the word, or write it in full (that's my camp) or shorten it with the Greek sign for Christ, X, there's so much more to ponder in the fullness of the word itself.
So i've played with it a bit, as i re-share a writing i posted two Christmas's ago.
In truth, we call it Christmas because -- when Christ was born so much happened.
How could that manger have held it all?
Christ --- m _____ a ______ s _______
...makes a solution
----- what better name could there be?
©2014 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe