Oct 282017
 
Okay people LISTEN UP!  I’m getting a little tired of these hate mails and comments!  If you want to hate me because I use the name “XMASDOLLY”, stop wasting your time with me, and try looking it up in your history books!
Credit of this Article:  http://www.hearthevoice.com/  Xmas: is it taking Christ out of Christmas?

(Credit to… and thank you Mr. Capes)… By David Capes

Last year, this post got a lot of hits so I thought I would bring it back.   Some people are talking about a “war on Christmas.”  Is using “Xmas” an attempt to take “Christ” out of Christmas?  Take a look below.

I remember my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Potts, opening a vein when anyone wrote “Xmas” instead of “Christmas.” She felt there was a war on Christmas in her day and that people who abbreviated the name of the holiday were trying to take Christ out of Christmas. I suppose that is true for some people, but when you look into the real story of “Xmas” you realize that something else is at work.

 

The story begins with the Ten Commandments. One of those commandments says, “Do not take the name of the LORD in vain.” The name by the way is not “LORD,” that was a respectful translation or substitute for the name. In Hebrew THE NAME is four letters, yodh-he-vav-he. The technical term for the name is the tetragrammaton (literally, “the four letters”). Scholars today think the name may have been pronounced—when it was pronounced—Yahweh or Yahveh. But we aren’t sure. This was the covenant name of God, the name revealed to Moses and Israel at Mt. Sinai.

Under the influence of the commandment about the misuse of God’s name, the faithful spoke it less and less. By the time of Jesus speaking the name was considered blasphemous in almost every circumstance. The rabbis made their mark by building a hedge about the law. If you never spoke God’s name, you could never be guilty of taking the name in vain. It was a way of safeguarding the name. Even when reading Scripture in the synagogue, a substitute word was used. In Aramaic-speaking synagogues the readers said “Adonai.” In Greek-speaking synagogues they said “kyrios.”

The Dead Sea Scrolls provide good evidence for how the name of God was written in the centuries and decades leading up to the New Testament era. In many of the biblical scrolls the name of God is written in paleo-Hebrew script. That would be like shifting to a Gothic font when writing the name of God. In other scrolls the name is not written at all; it is represented by four, thick dots written in the center of the line. In yet other scrolls where the name of God should be there is a blank in the line just large enough for the tetragrammaton. Scholars theorize that the blank was left by a junior scribe and would have been filled in later by a senior scribe who had permission to write the name. Where there is a blank in the line, we think the senior scholar never got around to writing the divine name in the blank. These were some of the ways the faithful showed respect for the name of God.

Early Christians developed their own way of signaling respect for the names and titles associated with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Copying the New Testament books in Greek, they abbreviated the names (usually first letter and last letter) and placed a line above those letters. You can see this in the picture. Scholars refer to these asnomina sacra (Latin for “sacred names”). Copyists continued to write sacred names this way for centuries. It remains a common practice still among artists who create the icons used in the eastern churches. Many names and titles were written this way including “God,” “Father,” “Jesus,” “Son of God,” “Son of Man,” “Christ,” “Lord,” “Holy Spirit.” For our purposes note the nomina sacra for “Christ;” it was written XC. Now remember these are letters from the Greek alphabet not our Latinized version. It is not “X” (eks) the 24th letter of our English alphabet but the Greek letter “Chi,” the first letter of the title “Christ.”

Earliest versions of writing Christmas as “Xmas” in English go back to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (about 1100). This predates the rise of secularism by over 600 years. The Oxford English Dictionary cites the use of “X-“ for “Christ” as early as 1485. In one manuscript (1551) Christmas is written as “X’temmas.” English writers from Lord Byron (1811) to Samuel Coleridge (1801) to Lewis Carroll (1864) used the spelling we are familiar with today, “Xmas.”

The origin of “Xmas” does not lie in secularists who are trying to take Christ out of Christmas, but in ancient scribal practices adopted to safeguard the divine name and signal respect for it. The “X” in “Xmas” is not the English letter (eks) as in “X marks the spot,” but it is the initial Greek letter of the title “Christ.” No doubt some people today use the abbreviated form to disregard the Christian focus of the holy-day, but the background tells a different story, a story of faithful men and women expressing the deep respect they have for Jesus at this time of year.

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted everyone to know that I am not blasphemous when I use the name “XmasDolly”  I knew this story before I took the name.  Now we all know, right?!

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I took this name because of a Doll dressed in red on a Valentines Box my Dad gave my Mom back in 1943 when he was in the service, and because the doll was dressed in red (like a Caroler let’s say), and my mom called the doll her “Christmas Doll”.  When my Mom passed away her dolly was on my dresser when my daughter came over and asked me what did I want to call my blog, and I told her Christmas Dolly, and she said it was too long, and … the rest is history!

XmasDolly

  6 Responses to “XMas – Is it taking Christ out of Christmas??? LOOK IT UP!”

  1.  

    I’ve known that the “X” is Greek for Christ for years. It was told to me in my Lutheran days while I was still in grade school.

    •  

      So glad… no happy that a friend knows that I’m not blasphemous. Truly I never called my blog XmasDolly to be that way. It was because of my mom doll from 1943 when my dad sent it to her she kept it all these years and now it’s mine. These people that send me these nasty emails and comments on FB are really sick!!! 🙁

  2.  

    My stepfather, who had been a Jesuit and pastor of our parish, was John Christian. When he initialed documents, he always wrote “Xtn.” A lot of people who don’t understand that the ” x” is actually the Greek letter chi, will complain about “taking Christ out of Christmas.” I’ve had to explain it a few times and that there is no disrespect meant. Sometimes they accept it. But people gonna believe what they want…

    Side note: There are some congregations that take the tetragram YHWH (Yahweh) and insert the vowels from Adonai, making Yahowah, or Jehovah.

    •  

      John, my dear friend… thank you for chiming in on my Post and a bit of a history lesson for people with closed minds. A great history lesson indeed and I’m so very happy for your input. Thank you so much. I keeping my name and keeping Christ in my heart and in Christmas!!! BIG HUGS…

  3.  

    Marie,

    Great history lesson! I didn’t always know that “X” represented Christ, but somewhere along the super highway of technology I discovered the origin behind the often misunderstood usage of the word. The problem is we live in a society where everyone is offended by this and it’s easier for these sorts of people to whine or complain than it is to learn the truth first hand. I just wish people cared more about keeping Christ in their lives instead of in a word or a holiday, you know what I mean? We wouldn’t have a lot of this silliness going on that we see today. 😉

  4.  

    Not past tense at all. We still will not speak His name in synagogue and use the name Adonai in prayer.

Thanks for the lovely comment!