Misunderstanding Christmas

We had a very interesting discussion on the WIKY Morning Show about the misconceptions of common Christmas legends.
First, the candy cane – you may have heard the story or read the email making the rounds for years about how an Indiana candy maker designed the candy cane to represent the story of Jesus.  Some think of the candy cane as a shepherd’s crook but the story goes that the candy maker made it a “J” for Jesus.  The white represented His purity and the red was for what Christ endured during His life for us.  Well, it’s a terrific story but it’s simply not true.  In fact, the candy cane far pre-dates the state of Indiana. The various origins of the cane include a priest a few hundred years ago who made them as a reward for kids who behaved during Mass.  But the most likely origin says that the bend in the canes began in the mid-1600s so that people could hang them on the new tradition of Christmas trees along with other treats like cookies and fruit.
Another widely held misconception involves the use of “X-mas” for Christmas.  It’s commonly sited today that it takes Christ out of Christmas. The truth is actually far different and has nothing to do with the letter X in the English language.  The use of X as a symbol for Christ dates back over a thousand years.  Early Christian scholars used the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet (X and P) in the same context as the Latin alpha and omega in their writings to refer to Christ.  The letters eventually became known as the labarum, often called the Chi-Rho, a symbol representing Christ to this day. 
File:Simple Labarum2.svg

The use of X as an abbreviation for Christ became widespread in ancient Christian writings and paintings and was never meant to be anything but reverent. 

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Merry X-mas!