X is for the Christ

    “Don’t take Christ out of Christmas.” That was commonly said decades ago within my hearing. It was back when Christmas was ubiquitous but people were starting to pull back from the religious side of it. It was back when “only ten shopping days until Christmas” did not mean that Christmas was ten days away, because not every day was a shopping day (stores were closed on Sundays). It was a different world.
    One focal point of opposition was the word “Xmas.” I heard adults railing against it: Look, they’re taking “Christ” out and replacing him with an X! Only long later did I learn that “X” is an old abbreviation for “Christ,” being the first letter of the Greek word Xristos (= Christ).
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    It is not good to poke fun at this kind of mistake; all of us fall into these errors because none of us knows everything. It is, however, at least interesting that what looks like an effort to eradicate Christian truth might be instead a deeper encoding of it.
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    In algebra the task is often to solve an equation for the X. What does the X equal? For what values of X would the equation be true?
    For a lot of human life, the unknown X turns out to be Jesus. Who can give rest to the weary? Who can bring peace?
    Problem: Solve the following equation for X. “X = a true human being.”
    Solution: “X = Jesus Christ.”
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    Back in the day there was a bumper sticker: “Jesus is the answer.” I used to wonder, if that’s true then what’s the question? I now think that for just about all the serious and important questions it just is the case. Jesus is the answer.
    In the divine alphabet, X is for the Christ.
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    Out & About. The next “Good Books & Good Talk” seminar is set for 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 28. We will discuss Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Anyone who reads the book is welcome to the conversation.
    My sermon on All Saints, given at All Souls in Oklahoma City, is here: https://allsoulsokc.com/sermons . I try to make sense of Revelation chapter 7 (the pause in which there is a vision of the saints) in terms of the whole book: Jesus reads the scroll of history.

You Fall Asleep, You Wake Up

 

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The Rev. Canon Dr. Victor Lee Austin is the Theologian-in-Residence for the diocese and is the author of several books including, "Losing Susan: Brain Disease, the Priest's Wife, and the God who Gives and Takes Away."