Xmas

To the Editor:

Things are not quite so black as they appear to Stephen Lynch in his letter published 8 April. At the very least, 'Xmas' is NOT an expression of disrespect or irreverence.

Since the earliest centuries of the Church, 'X' has been used as an abbreviation for 'Christ' in such combinations as 'Xn' for 'Christian' and 'Xty' for 'Christianity.'

The Greek letter chi is shaped exactly like our X. It also happens to be the initial letter of the word Chrestos (anglicized 'Christ'), which the Bible uses to translate the Hebrew word Messiah (meaning 'the Anointed One').

Writing 'Xmas' for 'Christmas' is a mere typographical convenience, like writing 'etc.' for 'and other things.'

Pierre Berube

St. Johnsbury, Vt.

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