Be The X That Marks The Treasure

Be The X That Marks The Treasure December 25, 2023

A large capital X on a white background
An X is an easily recognizable letter, but what does it stand for? [Picture courtesy Pixabay]
The Christmas season today doesn’t bring visions of sugar plums to our heads. Instead, “X’s” fill our field of vision with Xmas greetings, Xmas sales, and Xmas parties. But what does “X” mean? The letter “X” can have various meanings depending on the context. No matter what the context, though, believers should strive to be the X that marks the treasure—Jesus Christ.

The Uses Of X

Although not many words contain the 24th letter of the alphabet in them, an “X” has many uses. The earliest encounter with an “X” likely occurs during elementary school. Teachers hand back graded papers to students containing red “X’s” marking what pupils got wrong. Used this way, the letter “X” indicates the concept of negation as in “no, that is not the correct answer.”

Another familiar use of the letter “x” also occurs during school in math classes, specifically algebra. The letter “x” designates an as yet undetermined value. It’s called a “variable” or an “unknown.” In fact, students may become eXasperated trying to determine what “x” equals.

Math problems on white background involving X's
Math problems often require a determination of the value of “x” [Picture courtesy of Unsplash.]
An extremely negative connotation of “X” relates to movie ratings. A film considered suitable for viewing only by adults, involving bad language, or sex would fall into this category.

X Marks The Spot

The letter X appears in a familiar phrase, “X marks the spot,” with “X” identifying the location of something. The British army brought this phrase into common use through their method of executions. Soldiers would mark a piece of paper with a black x and place it on the heart of the individual condemned to death. So, the “X” drew the marksmen’s eyes to the deadly location for a shot.

In a more positive vein,” X’s” were traditionally used on maps to indicate locations. Most famously, such locations involved treasure maps. What would a pirate movie be without a treasure map with an elusive “X” to find?

Map showing directions to "X" marks the spot
Treasure maps give directions to “X,” the location of treasure. [Picture courtesy of Pixabay.]

Where the X In Xmas Comes From

Controversy arose over the X replacing Christ in Christmas. Although some may view use of Xmas instead of Christmas as taking Christ out of Christmas, history does not support that conclusion.

Greek was the language of the New Testament, and in that language the word for Christ, Christos (Χριστός), begins with the Greek letters chi, written as an X, and rho (p). Christos was the agreed-upon translation for the Hebrew word Messiah because both carried the connotation of being covered (or anointed) with oil.

That “X,” the first letter of Christos, through church history became a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ.  In the 3rd Century, writing sacred names using abbreviations was common because it made those holy names stand out in a manuscript.

The Roman Empire outlawed Christianity. As a result, the Romans often persecuted early Christians. The letter X turned into a secret symbol to indicate a believer’s membership in the church to others.  Christians also used a Chi-Rho mark, the first two letters of Christos in Greek, to designate their worship spaces and other important locations. Centuries later, Emperor Constantine, the first emperor to convert to Christianity, directed the Chi-Rho mark appear on his army’s weapons and shields.

Statue of Emperor Constantine from the shoulders up.
Christian Emperor Constantine ordered a Christian symbol placed on his army’s weapons [Picture courtesy of Pixabay.]

Believers Are X’s

Despite the many uses of the letter “X,” its most important use is as a letter for which every believer stands. Why? Because each of us is a treasure map revealing the location of the most precious treasure ever.

2 Corinthians 4:6 states God made His light to shine in our hearts; verse 7 goes on to reveal that we have this treasure in jars of clay. What is that treasure? Christ lives in us, earthen vessels with the glory of God within us. God does NOT want this treasure to remain buried. He wants us to proudly display our “X “leading others to seek the treasure within us—Him.

About Alice H Murray
After 35 years as a Florida adoption attorney, Alice H. Murray now pursues a different path as Operations Manager for End Game Press. With a passion for writing, she is constantly creating with words. Her work includes contributions to several Short And Sweet books, The Upper Room, Chicken Soup For The Soul, Abba’s Lessons (from CrossRiver Media), and the Northwest Florida Literary Review. Alice is a regular contributor to GO!, a quarterly Christian magazine in the Florida Panhandle, and she has three devotions a month published online by Dynamic Women in Missions. Her devotions have also appeared in compilation devotionals such as Ordinary People Extraordinary God (July 2023) and Guideposts’ Pray A Word A Day, Vol. 2 (June 2023) and pray a word for Hope (September 2023). Alice’s first book, The Secret of Chimneys, an annotated Agatha Christie mystery, was released in April 2023 with a second such book, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, to be released in April 2025. On a weekly basis, Alice posts on her blog about current events with a humorous point of view at You can read more about the author here.

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