Merry Xmas

“Why in the world would you write that?”

What are you talking about?

“Obviously, that X in Christmas.”

What wrong with that?

“You don’t know?”

Nope.  Tell me.

“Well, X stands for an unknown quantity.  That’s no way to talk about our Lord!”

Whoa! You don’t have the facts straight!

“What do you mean?”

That’s no X, it’s . . .

“Looks like an X to me.”

Listen, the New Testament was written in Greek—which everyone wrote at that time.

“Yeah? So what?”

Here’s what—that supposed “X” in Xmas isn’t an English letter at all. It’s . . .

“Sure looks like one.”

Yes.  But it is really a Greek letter standing for “Ch,” the first two letters in “Christ.” The expression Xmas is an abbreviation—that’s all.

“Oh!”

If I were objecting to anything, and I’m not, it would be the “mas” at the end of the word.

Hmmm.  You’d better explain that one too!

Well, it’s a shortening of the word “mass.”

“A Roman Catholic word?”

Sorta’  You see, Xmas is a “mule word”—half Greek, half Latin.

Hmmm.

The latter part, mas, came from the Latin mitto which means “to dismiss” or “send off.”  It was used in the early church to dismiss unbelievers before communion was served. But it has little meaning any more—it’s just an abbreviated ending. Get it?

“Think so. Uh . . . Merry Xmas”

Merry Xmas!

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