Discovering the X in X-mas

Discovering the X in X-mas




We see Xmas or X-mas written nearly everywhere, from holiday advertisements to Christmas cards but it has different meanings. In Algebra, X stands for an unknown variable.  In English, X represents the unknown, as in X-rays, X marks the spot, etc. The unknown is where we’re headed.

1.     Some people innocently use Xmas as shorthand in writing the word, Christmas.  

2.     Other people purposely use Xmas in an effort to eliminate Christ from the December holiday, preferring a commercial, secular family holiday gift exchange.

Research from Google:

The word Christmas comes from the combination of the words 'Christ' and 'mass.  If you know the Greek meaning of X, Xmas and Christmas essentially mean the same thing: Christ+mas.  In the Greek alphabet, X is the symbol for the letter ‘chi’. Chi (or X) is the first letter in the Greek word for Christ.  In the early days of the Christian church, Christians used the letter X as a secret symbol to indicate their membership/fellowship in the church to others.

The unknown X is a Known—Christ Jesus, the Prince of Peace, replacing darkness with His light.

 As I pondered the true meaning of X in Xmas and meditated on Jesus being the source of the light

 of understanding spoken of: Jesus said I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. John 8:12 NIV, my thoughts zoomed in on my sister-in-law, Eileen—Mac’s wife--who for the last several years has been in physical darkness having lost total vision over a few days’ time coming from light to total darkness. I wondered how she could exude a positive attitude, considering that every aspect of her life has been altered. Otherwise, Eileen is in excellent physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health.

Eileen is extraverted, humorous, independent, bubbly, confident as a wife, mom, relative, with skills in homemaking, secretarial and the church volunteer world. In my opinion, there wasn’t anything that Eileen couldn’t do.

As I chatted with her this morning and described the Discovering X in Xmas subject focusing on the Biblical truth of going from darkness to light. “That sounds like an interesting subject,” she said.  I asked if she would be willing to describe her journey in adjusting to physical darkness. “Ask me anything you want to, Ruthie. I am thrilled to be of help to others.”

I’m just going to share Eileen’s and my dialogue. Her responses are in italics.

Question: How have you been able to adjust to losing your sight?

Jesus helps me. I feel like He’s holding my hand. I do not feel cheated or punished, but blindness just happened. Jesus came to me one night as I was getting ready for bed. We talked for about an hour. He was sad that I had lost my sight, and said, ‘Oh, come on, Eileen, you can deal with this.’ He downplayed my blindness so that I could handle it.

I don’t feel sorry for myself, but fortunate, I do not feel cheated or punished. Blindness just happened. I am alive. I just accept blindness.”

Q: How do you deal with not being able to do the things you used to enjoy doing?

I miss cooking, baking and cleaning, but I enjoy what others bake, cook and are able to do for me.

Q: Has your hearing become stronger since you’ve lost your visual sense?

My hearing has always been very strong but has not gotten stronger; And my memory has always been extraordinary, too, and is still that way.

Q: So, if I asked you where the toothpicks are, you’d know? Yes, I know exactly, and Mac keeps everything where I used to place it.

Q: How do you have in-person conversations without seeing people’s eyes and body language?

I pick up hints from voices and listen to what they say. I’ve always been a good listener.

And when someone hugs me, I can tell if they are tense or relaxed.

Q: In what way does Izzy (their poodle) help you? I feel Izzy’s concern for me. She sits on my lap or shoulder. She is a great comfort. I have a great life. Mac is so good to me. He really cares about what I need or want. He wants to please me.

As we closed our weekly chat, Eileen said: Ruthie, what I would like to do is to hear the names and voices of the women in the Ladies Bible Study who pray for me. If you could just pass your phone around, that would be wonderful! 

The next morning, we did that very thing, including the gals who had joined us via zoom. It was a two-way delightful street.

After chatting by phone that the upcoming blog was about Discovering the X in Xmas and how Eileen, despite blindness still possesses the inner light and positive attitude about not being able to do what she’s always enjoyed doing and becoming totally dependent, my friend, who has been reeling from medical problems which have tremendously upset his life, got very quiet for a minute. “I needed to hear that, Ruth. I feel like I’ve been hit in the gut. Hearing about Eileen has really helped me.”

Many can say that their lives have been altered by a disease, a serious accident, and mental and/or physical consequences from severe weather or war injuries or losing loved ones. Life is not easy for anyone. Covid is an excellent example of worlds being turned topsy-turvy. 

It’s obvious that the old adage, “It’s not the circumstance you are in, but the attitude you take,” never becomes obsolete.  I first saw that written on the chalk board in Latin 1 when I was a freshman in high school and have used it ever since.

In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John 1:1 (NIV).

Jesus said I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. John 8:12 (NIV).

A Xmas card that I received reads:

             Because of Jesus…

We have peace that passes understanding.

We have joy that can’t be taken away.                                            

     We have love that’s everlasting.

         We have nothing to fear and 

               everything to hope for

         today, tomorrow, and always.


One Of Jim’s favorite scriptures:  In Him we live and move and have our being,” Acts: 17:28, (NIV) put with one of mine, touching on the same truth--And may you know his love, even though it can’t be known completely. Then you will be filled with everything God has for you. Eph. 3:19. (NIV).

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