Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity Why Is There an X in Xmas? Isn't It Sacrilegious? Share Flipboard Email Print pixel2013/pixabay/CC0) Christianity Christian Holidays Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Catholicism Latter Day Saints View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated October 08, 2017 Some Christians complain that the abbreviation 'Xmas' for Christmas is part of a move to secularize the holiday, to take the Christ out of Christmas, but this isn't really justified. It is said that when Emperor Constantine had his great vision that caused him to convert to Christianity, he saw the Greek letters Chi and Rho intertwined. Chi is written as an 'X' and Rho is written as a 'P', but they are the first two letters of the Greek word Christ 'savior'. 'XP' is sometimes used to stand for Christ. Sometimes 'X' is used alone. This is the case in the Chi (X) abbreviation for Christ in Xmas. Thus, Xmas is not directly a way of secularizing the holiday, but since 'X' is not Chi in English, we read the word as X-mas and see no connection with Christ. Sacrilegious, an adjective some have applied to the Xmas spelling, is easy to misspell. It looks as though it should be "sac-" plus the word religious, but it isn't. Instead, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it comes from the Latin phrase sacrum legere: "to steal sacred things."