I get a call or email from her every year. I don’t know her name. She doesn't go to our church, I only know she’s mad, and she considers it her spiritual duty to correct me.
For years now, we’ve placed an electronic reader board near the street in front of our Church building before Christmas that lists our Christmas Eve service times. The sign says, Xmas Eve.
And every year she accuses us of taking Christ out of Christmas.
Hers is a common misconception.
First, she is historically wrong. The use of “X” has been common in the Church for a long time, and it stands for CHRIST. (See this link for an explanation.)
In fact, its use was a very popular practice, particularly by religious scribes, who are thought to have started the whole “Xmas” thing in the first place. Indeed, the practice of using the symbol “X” in place of Christ’s name has been going on amongst religious scholars for at least a thousand years. (Here’s another link just in case you need more convincing.)
Second, we use Xmas on our sign for a very practical reason: Space. To use “Christmas Eve” and list all our services would take too many panels. People driving by have time only for a glance.
Third, of all the things that matter, like the billions who don’t have clean drinking water or the millions suffering from starvation, this issue is not worthy of an uproar by Christians. (Especially, when they are being inaccurate. See my first point.)
Maybe instead of worrying too much about taking Christ out of Christmas, we should be a lot more like Christ at Christmas.
I’m quite certain Jesus wouldn’t mind the use of “X,” and He’d be way more concerned with things and people that matter.
Fourth, to think that a Christian, evangelical church has taken Christ out of Christmas is an unfortunate false assumption. Every week we preach Jesus, and our stated mission is to “help people find and follow Jesus!” For the record, Jesus Christ is at the center of everything we do and say at Eastpoint! Everything.
Fifth, our mission as a church is to reach the unchurched. And trust me, the unchurched are not the ones calling and complaining. Frankly, they tend to think arguments about “X” are stupid, and they sometimes use this foolishness among believers as an excuse to avoid Christians. How sad.
When the sign got delivered this past week, one of my staff said, “Are we going with ‘Xmas’ again this year? Are you sure it’s worth the flack we’ll get?”
“Yup,” I said, “We’re not trying to be offensive, but the only people who will be offended aren’t the unchurched folks we’re trying to reach.”
She smiled. So did I.