History of Christmas
The word “Christmas” means “Mass of Christ,” later shortened to “Christ-Mass.” The even shorter form “Xmas” – first used in Europe in the 1500s – is derived from the Greek alphabet, in which X is the first letter of Christ’s name: Xristos, therefore “X-Mass. Today we know that Christ was not born on the 25th of December. The date was chosen to coincide with the pagan Roman celebrations honoring and Mithras, a form of sun worship. These celebrations came on or just after the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, to announce that winter is not forever, that life continues, and an invitation to stay in good spirit.