What is the X in X-mas?
(Heb. tamar), the date-palm characteristic of Palestine. It is described as "flourishing" (Ps. 92:12), tall (Cant. 7:7), "upright" (Jer. 10:5). Its branches are a symbol of victory (Rev. 7:9). "Rising with slender stem 40 or 50, at times even 80, feet aloft, its only branches, the feathery, snow-like, pale-green fronds from 6 to 12 feet long, bending from its top, the palm attracts the eye wherever it is seen." The whole land of Palestine was called by the Greeks and Romans Phoenicia, i.e., "the land of palms." Tadmor in the desert was called by the Greeks and Romans Palmyra, i.e., "the city of palms." The finest specimens of this tree grew at Jericho (Deut. 34:3) and Engedi and along the banks of the Jordan. Branches of the palm tree were carried at the feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:40). At our Lord's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem the crowds took palm branches, and went forth to meet him, crying, "Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. 21:8; John 12:13). (See DATE.)