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Your Letter: 'Xmas' is no slight to Christ

Recently someone objected to the use of Xmas when referring to Christmas, feeling that the spelling is disrespectful of a holy word. That is a common misunderstanding.

The use of X for the first letter in the Greek spelling of Christ and hence as standing for the whole name is an ancient practice and comes down to the present in church symbolism, especially in combination with P for the second letter in the Greek spelling. That combination appeared in manuscripts before the year 1100. Similarly, the letter has been used in related words such as christen, Christian, Christopher, and so on through the centuries.

Xmas, in several variations, is very old. It appeared in a book of English history as X'temmas as early as 1551. Those whose concern is for "keeping Christ in Christmas" need have no fear for the X. It does precisely that.

Happy Xmas!

Marge Goggins