“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
The “X” Factors, by Randall D. Kittle

Ever since I became a believer, I’ve been disturbed by those who use the abbreviation “Xmas” for the word “Christmas.” Not only does it “X” out Christ from the very celebration of His coming to earth as our Savior, this seems to make it easier to secularize Christmas so people can focus on the presents, parties, food, and decorating. If I had my way, I would keep the Christ in Christmas and abolish the word “Xmas” altogether. Yet despite my disdain for this practice, these dreaded four-letters re-emerge every holiday season. Every year newspapers, malls, and television commercials urge you to take advantage of Xmas sales and Xmas specials.

This is why I was so startled and surprised by a powerful dream that awakened me recently. In this dream a large letter “X” was lowered from the heavens. As this “X” floated down to the earth, it came to a stable and finally rested at one end of the manger of Christ forming its support. I then saw a Cross that was also lowered from the heavens. It too came down to the stable and as it did it rotated, became smaller, and came to rest as the other end of the manger in which the Christ child lay. With that, I saw the Xs come together and move into the midst of some other letters “Merry mas” and change them into “Merry Xmas.” Then I heard a voice declare, “The incarnation plus the atonement have provided the way for Me to lower the ‘X’ to the earth: the ‘X’ of selection, the ‘X’ of removal, and the ‘X’ of signature upon the heart of man.”

The reclamation of mankind began with the birth of Christ we celebrate every Christmas season. This restoration was completed because of Jesus’ willingness to suffer our shame, our punishment, and our death. Because of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God is now able to bring His reconciling “X-Factors” to earth and make us His own, eternal possession.

The first “X-Factor” we have been given is the “X” of
selection, just as we might make an “x” in the boxes of items we select or choose. The incarnation and atonement have made the way for us to be chosen and accepted by God. This should cause us to eternally bless the Lord. As is says in Ephesians 1:3-6, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love … by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

The second “X-Factor” we have been given is the “X” of removal, just we might use an “x” to cross out something we want to get rid of or remove. The birth, death, and resurrection of Christ have made the way for us to remove everything that separates us from God — all of our sin, falls, and failures. It has paid the price for Psalm 103:12 to be fulfilled, so we can truly say with the Psalmist,
“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Beyond that glorious restoration, we have been brought into a whole new way of relating to God, “the new way of the Spirit” (Romans 7:6). No longer do we have to try to fulfill the law to gain His acceptance. Instead, we have been given acceptance and relationship with God, and from this we are to walk out a life that brings glory to His name.

The third “X-Factor” we have been given is the “X” of
signature upon our hearts, just as they put an “x” where you need to sign a document or you could simply “make your mark” by signing with an “x” in days gone by. God promised long ago that He would make a people of His very own by writing His ways upon their heart. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). Because of the finished work of Christ, God can do this for us and even more, for we have both His signature and seal upon our hearts declaring that we are His and enabling us to walk in His way. “When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13).

While I still don’t like replacing “Christ” in Christmas with an “X”, every time I see one I will now be reminded of the “X-Factors” of God and what they have done for us. Because Jesus Christ came, died, and rose again, all of us who truly accept Him as our Lord and Savior have our sin and shame removed, are accepted and set apart for Him, and have the seal of His Holy Spirit upon our hearts. Those are “X-Factor” gifts of God — gifts beyond compare!

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